Republicans blocked a vote on defense spending for a third time, increasing the risk of a shutdown
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s attempt to revive the spending agenda failed on Thursday when Republicans blocked a vote on defense spending for a third time, raising the risk of a government shutdown in just 10 days.
The House of Representatives voted 216-212 against opening debate on the $886 billion defense appropriations bill amid opposition from a small group of hardline conservative Republicans.
It was a setback for McCarthy the morning after his fragile 221-212 majority met for two-and-a-half hours seeking consensus on legislation to avert a fourth government shutdown in a decade, starting Oct. 1.
When the vote failed, McCarthy told reporters he would follow “the same strategy I’ve had since January: Keep working; keep working.” never give up”.
Federal agencies will begin closing on October 1 unless Congress passes a short-term continuing resolution, known as a CR, or a full-year funding bill.
House Republicans have so far failed to unite behind either possibility, and the ideas they have considered have only Republican support, making it unlikely they will gain support in the Democratic-majority Senate or be signed into law by US President Joe Biden.
“Instead of reducing the chance of a shutdown, Speaker McCarthy is increasing it by wasting time on extreme proposals that cannot become law in the Senate,” Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said.
The bill was scheduled to be voted on in five minutes, but Republicans kept it open for more than half an hour in hopes of obtaining additional votes.
Republican Rep. Keith Self, who voted for the bill, said the proposal’s failure shows a lack of confidence in McCarthy’s leadership.
“It’s an issue of trust,” Self told reporters, but refused to go into details. Asked about the mood in the hall, Self said: “Emotions were running high.”
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