House Aims To Regroup As Spending Defeats Pile Up
U.S. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks to reporters after leaving the House Chambers in the U.S. Capitol Building on September 20, 2023 in Washington, DC.
(Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The House nixed plans for more votes this week after GOP leadership failed to advance a defense spending bill a second time as the government heads toward a possible shutdown in nine days.

Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN), the majority whip, announced on Thursday that the House stood in recess. He said no further votes were expected for the rest of the day, discussions related to appropriations were ongoing, and the Rules Committee remained on-call throughout the weekend.

“Members are advised that ample notice will be given ahead of any potential votes tomorrow or this weekend,” Emmer added. “Please stay tuned to future updates for more information.”

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) faced a setback earlier in the day when a small group of Republicans joined with Democrats in shooting down a bid to start consideration of a defense appropriations bill. The tally was 216-212, with slightly more GOP holdouts voting against advancing the legislation than there were earlier in the week.

“I just voted NO to the rule for the Defense bill because they refused to take the war money for Ukraine out and put it in a separate bill,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) said in a post to X, adding that polling shows growing opposition to Congress authorizing more funding for the Ukraine-Russia war.

A government shutdown could happen at the end of the month if lawmakers fail to come to an agreement on spending legislation to fund various federal agencies in the next fiscal year. Ultimately, both chambers of Congress and the White House need to come to an agreement for any bill to get final approval.

Talk of a short-term spending bill drawn up by the GOP-controlled House prompted backlash from Senate Democrats, as well as some House conservatives who are pushing for concessions. McCarthy even nixed a procedural vote on a 30-day continuing resolution amid the opposition from fellow Republicans.

Now with the recess, the plan is to try and pass the remaining 11 out of 12 individual appropriations bills starting next week despite the likelihood that the Democrat-led Senate will oppose that strategy, too, according to multiple reporters. The House passed a Veterans Affairs spending bill in July.


McCarthy is working to navigate the spending ordeal as he faces threats from within his own party about a bid to oust him from the speakership. Last week, the California Republican said the “threats don’t matter” and that he would keep focusing on “what’s the right thing to do for the American people.”

President Joe Biden took aim at Republicans in a speech last week, criticizing them over their effort to secure cuts in spending and a commitment to what he called “MAGAnomics.” House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), in a weekend interview with ABC News, said House Republicans were engaged in a “civil war.”

Former President Donald Trump, who is running a 2024 campaign for a second term in the White House, urged congressional Republicans to “defund all aspects” of what he said was Biden’s “weaponized” government.

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