House and Senate on a collision course toward a government shutdown (again)

The House and Senate are at odds over terms to fund the federal government, potentially leading to a government shutdown after the September 30 deadline, further complicated by disagreements within the Republican party and between the two houses of Congress.

Key players: The House Freedom Caucus are placing pressure on Kevin McCarthy, the Speaker of the House, to control spending.
* Republicans like Rep. Bob Good are advocating for a government shutdown if necessary, while some Republicans like Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart believe that a shutdown is not an option and would take away leverage from Republicans.
* House Freedom Caucus members have said they will not support a temporary funding measure to keep the government running, necessitating McCarthy to seek support from Democrats.

Deal difficulties: McCarthy’s previous deal with President Biden was challenged by conservative lawmakers.
* The deal centered around top-line spending for the upcoming appropriations bills, applying a modest cut to the federal deficit over the next decade.
* In response to opposition from conservatives, McCarthy backed away from the initial deal, leading to furor among House Democrats.

Culture clash in funding: In addition to monetary concerns, policy disputes over social programs are featuring heavily in debates.
* Republicans, part of the new ‘Anti-Woke’ Caucus, are pressuring to cut funding for programs they believe promote a ‘far-left ideology.’
* Democrats have countered this by arguing against member-targeted cuts and discriminatory measures.

Senate approach: The Senate is taking a different path, moving through their versions of the spending bills in a more bipartisan fashion.
* Led by Democrat Patty Murray and Republican Susan Collins, the Senate’s process contrasts sharply with the House’s.
* Last week, Murray and Collins announced an additional spending agreement, further diverging from the actions of the House.

Government under pressure: The spending disputes, potential government shutdown, and fights over policy riders are putting the position of House Speaker McCarthy under scrutiny.
* Some conservatives have signaled that they would able to oust the speaker if the negotiations this fall do not go as they desire.
* Few are certain as to how this appropriations process will end due to a number of variables and ongoing disagreements.

View original article on NPR

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