Tick, tick: Anxiety increases as the GOP sinks into the countdown to shutdown

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The House Freedom Caucus sent a letter on Wednesday urging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to use all procedural tools at his disposal to block government funding unless the Biden administration rescinds vaccination mandates “Non-American” and “illegal”.

McConnell and Minority Parliamentary Leader Kevin McCarthy have yet to comment publicly on the Conservatives’ push. But GOP leaders have other issues with the Democrats’ plans for the make-shift. Among their objections are exceptions to the patch’s otherwise stable funding, known on the Hill as “anomalies,” as well as billions of dollars in possible cuts to medicare and farm aid that remain. a problem between the two parties.

At least 10 Senate Republicans are expected to vote with Democrats to avoid this cut in Medicare and farm aid, triggered by passage of Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion pandemic aid package in March and which is expected to come into effect early next year.

Congress generally avoids such cuts – a consequence of the obscure process used to push certain tax bills past Senate obstruction – with little fanfare. But this time around, preventing them would require the cooperation of a GOP that doesn’t feel particularly generous as Democrats pursue major spending plans without Republican votes.

Richard Shelby of Alabama, the top Republican Senate official, said Tuesday night that “I wish February” was the end date for a funding patch. “Mars would suit me. April May.”

A shorter stopgap is unnecessary as the broader credit talks stalled, Shelby argued.

“Until they sit down and have an in-depth discussion with us about all the poison pills they’ve put on, it’s our position in the caucus that we’re not going to talk to them about. … I think most people are ultimately better off with a clean CR for the year rather than many of their political desires, ”he added.

Senate Democrats would also need the support of at least 10 Republicans to avoid a midnight Friday shutdown. But as the clock ticks, Democratic anxiety has set in over how long it will take to reach a tentative deal with the GOP and whether the wait simply cedes influence to the minority party.

Any stumble on government spending could make it harder for Democrats to resolve other looming cliffs this month – including the deadline to raise the country’s debt limit, which is only weeks away, and the date of December 31 when the popular tax credits for parents will expire.

Still, many top Democrats believed the party could ultimately avoid a shutdown this week.

“Some of the more extreme members of the Republican Senate group even want to shut down the government,” House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (DN.Y.) said. “It will not work. We are ready to act.

“I think at the end of the day we’ll get a deal,” added House Rules Speaker Jim McGovern (D-Mass.).

Heather Caygle, Andrew Desiderio and Jennifer Scholtes contributed to this report.


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