Light Wave


GOP civil war begins as House radicals court gov’t shut down

By CM Chaney · September 20, 2023

In brief…

  • House GOP canceled a vote on a short-term spending deal, increasing the odds of a government shutdown by the September 30 deadline.
  • The conservative Freedom Caucus opposes the deal, demanding deeper cuts and no Ukraine aid.
  • The impasse threatens McCarthy's leadership and pushes the GOP toward a shutdown.
  • If a shutdown occurs, Republicans will receive the lion's share of the blame.
House GOP infighting is making a government shutdown more likely ahead of the Setp. 30th funding deadline.  DonkeyHotey/Wikimedia

Republican infighting has escalated this week as the threat of a government shutdown grows closer. On Tuesday, House GOP leadership was forced to cancel a vote on a short-term spending deal in a sign that radical factions within the party aim to block any potential compromise.

The canceled vote came after House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy demanded that members who opposed the deal explain their objections directly to House Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN). Dissent remains strong from the far-right Freedom Caucus, which argues for funding cuts to items such as the war in Ukraine.

Failure to unite around a spending bill leaves the door open for further disruptions. Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) has threatened to introduce a motion to remove McCarthy from his leadership role if no deal can be reached. Meanwhile, Senate Democrats have pledged to block any bill tied to the policy riders conservatives have demanded.

With less than two weeks until the September 30th fiscal year deadline, the infighting has Republicans on a collision course that could result in a shutdown of the federal government. Given the dynamics of the debate and the leanings of the mainstream media, it is likely the Republicans will be blamed for a shutdown.

“I find it extremely difficult to explain or defend opposition to an 8% cut over 30 days in exchange for the most conservative and strong border security measure we’ve ever passed out of this body,” Representative Chip Roy R-TX) said.

While tempers continue to flare, the shutdown threat remains high as the fractured GOP searches for unity.