Despite the looming government shutdown, the Republican-led House of Representatives postponed vital government funding for agencies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) until September. According to Democratic Caucus Chairman Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), “We’re on a collision course with the government shutdown because the far-right is battling the extreme right.” He blames the GOP infighting for the House’s inability to do its job.
Furthermore, House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) remains accountable to the Freedom Caucus, the chamber’s small coalition of extreme conservatives bent on infighting and battling culture wars rather than serving the nation.
The Freedom Caucus is pushing for deep cuts to government funding. Newsweek’s report quoted Rep. Bob Good (R-Vir.), who declared, “We should not fear a government shutdown.”
“Most of what we do up here [on Capitol Hill] is bad anyway. Most of what we do up here hurts the American people.” His sentiment clearly shows the extreme position of these radical Republicans.
While some enjoy watching the infighting within the lower chamber, the Freedom Caucus intends to cut spending to $1.47 trillion, bringing the budget back to fiscal year 2022 level. However, this number is significantly lower than the agreed-upon cap of $1.59 trillion, which President Joe Biden and Speaker McCarthy negotiated earlier this year, resulting in the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
According to Newsweek, the House’s spending cuts face broad scrutiny from Democrat and Republican Senators.
GOP Impeachment Talk Sidelines Vital Funding Negotiation
Rep. Aguilar explained why the funding negotiation stalled before the summer break. He said, “Kevin McCarthy can’t control his own conference, and they continue to let the most extreme members guide everything they do.” The congressman believes that the lack of control he sees from the Speaker is “what is so dangerous about impeachment discussion,” referring to the GOP discussion about impeaching Biden.
Echoing his fellow party members, Aguilar pointed out, “They don’t have evidence against President Biden. This is a complete distraction.” McCarthy’s assertion that the House Oversight and Accountability Committee’s investigation into Biden’s foreign business activities “will rise to the level of an impeachment inquiry” prompted Democrats and some Republicans to criticize the Speaker’s comments. According to The Hill, Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) “called the impeachment talks a ‘shiny object’ to distract from negotiations about spending.”
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
The Hill: Democratic Caucus chair says shutdown is looming because ‘the far right is battling the extreme right;’ By Joe Jacquez
Politico: House GOP bails on funding fight amid conservative impasse; By Meredith Lee Hill
Newsweek: Threat of Government Shutdown Lingers as Congress Heads for August Recess; By Alex J. Rouhandeh