Who could have predicted it? The trial balloon a handful of House Freedom Caucus members floated with a few “establishment” Main Street Caucus members was shot down Sunday before it even started to rise.
The proposal consisted of a one-month continuing resolution that would keep the government funded through Oct. 31 but slash spending on nearly everything but defense, veterans programs, and disaster relief by more than 8% for the next month. The proposal also featured elements of a racist border funding/policy bill that passed the House in May. Every element of this—the cuts, the racist border bill, and the short time frame—would no doubt have been rejected by the Senate, even if it could pass the House.
However, it won’t pass the House because enough of the hardest hardliners have said no, and there’s no way Democrats would vote for it.
Florida man Rep. Matt Gaetz immediately rejected it. “I will not support this 167 page surrender to Joe Biden,” he said. Freedom Caucus Reps. Dan Bishop of North Carolina, Matt Rosendale of Montana, Eli Crane of Arizona, and others piled on. That included Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s good pal Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. That’s more than enough to bring the bill down.
According to The Washington Post, House leadership nevertheless has a “goal of uniting all flanks of the conference to support passing the deal.” McCarthy was a bit befuddled by it all Monday morning. "If you're not willing to pass appropriations bills and you're not willing to pass a continuing resolution to allow you to pass the rest of the appropriations bills and you don't want an omnibus, I don't quite know what you want,” he told reporters, summing up all the things the extremists have said they won’t do.
He reportedly did give a hint about how he might try to force his conference together on this: terrorists on the border! He has asked for a classified briefing on the issue. While the Department of Homeland Security has reported that the number of people on the FBI’s terrorist watch list that border agents encountered has increased in the past several months, the key part of that is that border agents stopped them from crossing.
McCarthy intended to bring this proposal to the floor in tandem with the defense appropriations bill the extremists derailed last week. “I gave them an opportunity this weekend to try to work through this, and we’ll bring it to the floor win or lose,” McCarthy said on Fox News’ Sunday morning.
That’s likely to be a “lose” if he tries to ram the bills through together. Democrats will almost surely not help. Democratic House leader Hakeem Jeffries told ABC "This Week" co-anchor Jonathan Karl that the House Republicans are "in the middle of a civil war.”
"It's unfortunate,” he added. “But as House Democrats, we're going to continue to try to find common ground with the other side of the aisle. … Hopefully the House Republicans will come along so that we can work to make sure we are funding the government."
The House Republican conference, and thus the whole House, remains in chaos, with just 12 days left for McCarthy to figure out how not to shut the government down.
What do you do if you're associated with one of the biggest election fraud scandals in recent memory? If you're Republican Mark Harris, you try running for office again! On this week's episode of "The Downballot," we revisit the absolutely wild story of Harris' 2018 campaign for Congress, when one of his consultants orchestrated a conspiracy to illegally collect blank absentee ballots from voters and then had his team fill them out before "casting" them. Officials wound up tossing the results of this almost-stolen election, but now Harris is back with a new bid for the House—and he won't shut up about his last race, even blaming Democrats for the debacle.