WASHINGTON — House Republicans on Thursday failed to earn enough votes to begin debate on a key military funding bill after five conservatives blocked it over demands for additional spending cuts.
The latest defeat is a blow to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who failed to begin debate on the bill for the second time this week. All of this as a government shutdown looms with a deadline just eight days away.
“It’s frustrating in a sense that I don’t understand why anybody votes against bringing the idea and having the debate,” McCarthy said after the vote.
“This is a whole new concept of individuals that just want to burn the whole place down. That doesn’t work,” he said.
McCarthy had previously said that the House would work through the weekend to find common ground among the party to avoid a shutdown. However, now he has dismissed any meetings on Friday and the weekend, telling members they’ll get “ample notice” if any schedule changes happen.
The final vote Thursday was 212-216 as Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Dan Bishop, Matt Rosendale, Andy Biggs and Eli Crane all voted against the measure.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries slammed the Republican side, saying their moves were “paralyzing Congress.”
“We need the extreme, MAGA Republicans to get their act together in the Civil War that’s happening on the Republican side of the aisle that’s paralyzing Congress. Get your act together so we can handle the business of the American people and solve problems on their behalf,” Jeffries said.
The possibility of a government shutdown is likely unless House Republicans pass something that can also get through the Democratic-controlled Senate and on President Joe Biden’s desk before midnight on Sept. 30.
During a 2-hour closed-door meeting on Wednesday, McCarthy outlined a new short-term plan to fund the government that would include deeper spending cuts, according to several members in attendance.
“We’re very close there. I feel like I just got a little more movement to go there,” McCarthy told reporters Wednesday.