House Speaker Kevin McCarthy finds himself in a complex situation as he grapples with several pressing matters, some of which are time-sensitive.
Commentators have pointed out that McCarthy must prevent a government shutdown by passing a budget or a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government during ongoing negotiations. However, a government shutdown would have far-reaching consequences, putting a stop to various congressional investigations into alleged criminal activities involving the Biden family and reported corruption within the Department of Justice. It would also disrupt the discreet discussions regarding the initiation of impeachment proceedings against President Biden.
Previously, RTM reported on Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) issuing a warning that McCarthy’s position as Speaker was in jeopardy unless he proceeded with impeachment proceedings. Burchett conveyed to Axios, “I think the motion to vacate is in the back of everybody’s mind… If someone brings it up, it wouldn’t require much support, just a couple of votes.”
In an effort to avert a government shutdown, McCarthy is reported to have made budget-related concessions in negotiations with the White House. However, this move is met with resistance from fiscal conservative members of the House who had previously indicated their unwillingness to support such concessions.
McCarthy faces a precarious situation in the House, given his narrow majority, and this challenge is exacerbated by the absence of three Republican Representatives due to various health and legal issues.
According to The Washington Examiner, three Republicans, namely Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT), Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK), and Rep. George Santos (R-NY), are unlikely to be present to support McCarthy on crucial matters in September.
Rep. Stewart had previously announced his retirement, effective September 15, due to his wife’s health concerns. A runoff election to fill his seat is scheduled for November 21.
Rep. Lucas is currently in recovery from hip surgery, a result of a fall at his home in August, making him unavailable for in-person congressional votes in September.
Rep. Santos, who recently pleaded guilty to federal charges, has a hearing scheduled for October 27, raising doubts about his eligibility and availability for September voting.
With McCarthy’s vulnerability becoming apparent, fiscal conservatives are demanding concessions in exchange for their votes. For instance, members of the House Freedom Caucus are pushing for a $200 billion reduction in the proposed budget, while others are calling for an end to America’s funding of the war in Ukraine and increased funding for border security.
As Congress resumes its work on September 12, McCarthy faces a daunting task ahead. He must navigate the passage of 12 appropriations bills, secure support for a budget plan acceptable to both the White House and conservative party members, and address the demands of those pushing for an immediate launch of an impeachment inquiry.