The US government is on the brink of a shutdown as MAGA extremists in the House of Representatives struggle to pass a spending bill but that won’t prevent key Republicans from throwing a party and collecting campaign cash.
Congress appears to be on track to trigger a government shutdown on October 1, 2023, but House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is coming to New Jersey on Friday to hold a fundraiser with Rep. Tom Kean Jr., the Westfield congressman whose district is crucial to the GOP’s narrow Republican majority.
The fundraiser, advertised as a “beer and chili bash,” was originally scheduled for June, but had to be postponed because bad weather prevented Kean and McCarthy’s plane from taking off from Washington.
The Republicans will party somewhere in Kean’s 7th Congressional District, although the Republican campaign team declined to provide details about the location for fear of drawing protests from Social Security recipients and other citizens who would be hurt by a government shutdown.
The deadline to pass the bill is September 30, and if Congress fails to act, the government will partially shut down, meaning that many federal agencies will close and thousands of employees will be furloughed.
The shutdown is looming because House Republicans failed to pass a stopgap spending bill, known as a continuing resolution (CR), which would have kept the government funded through December 16.
The standoff is being driven by a small group of conservative Republicans who are demanding massive spending cuts. These cuts are opposed by moderate Republicans and Democrats, and they have no chance of passing the Senate.
McCarthy has been trying to find a compromise that will satisfy both the conservatives and the crazies, but he has so far been unsuccessful. On Tuesday, he was forced to cancel a vote on a stopgap funding measure after it became clear that it would not pass.
The possibility of a government shutdown is causing alarm among Republicans and Democrats in the Senate. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has warned that a shutdown would be “a loser for Republicans, politically.”
McConnell—who once said during the Great Recession that the top priority for Republicans should be denying President Barack Obama a second term— has said that he is willing to work with Democrats to pass a spending bill if it does not include any major policy changes.
Democrats have said that they are open to working with Republicans on a spending bill, but they have also said that they will not agree to any cuts to essential services.
It is unclear how the standoff will be resolved. It is possible that Republicans and Democrats will be able to reach a compromise at the last minute, but it is also possible that the government will shut down.
A government shutdown would have a number of negative consequences. It would close many federal agencies, including the National Park Service, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Environmental Protection Agency. It would also furlough hundreds of thousands of federal employees.
A shutdown would also have a negative impact on the economy. It would reduce consumer spending and business investment. It would also make it more difficult for businesses to get loans and other forms of financing.
The possibility of a government shutdown is a reminder of the deep divisions within the Republican Party. It also raises questions about the ability of Congress to function effectively.
The small group of conservative Republicans opposed the CR, arguing that it did not cut spending enough, and they were able to prevent the bill from passing, even though it had the support of a majority of House GOP members.
The failure to pass the CR raises the possibility of a government shutdown on October 1, when the current fiscal year ends. A shutdown would mean that many federal agencies would close and thousands of federal employees would be furloughed.
Republican senators are growing increasingly alarmed at the prospect of a shutdown. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has warned House Republicans that a shutdown would be “a loser for Republicans, politically.”
Some moderate House Republicans are also considering working with Democrats to pass a CR. Rep. Mike Lawler (R-NY) said on Tuesday that he was open to working with Democrats if House Republicans could not pass a CR on their own.
However, it is unclear whether a bipartisan agreement on a CR is possible. Democrats have said that they are willing to work with Republicans, but they have also insisted that any CR must include funding for Ukraine and other important priorities.
The possibility of a government shutdown comes at a time when the US economy is already facing a number of challenges, including high inflation and rising interest rates. A shutdown would likely further damage the economy and hurt millions of Americans.
What to do if there is a government shutdown
If the government shuts down on October 1, there are a few things you can do:
- Stay informed. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will provide updates on the shutdown on its website. You can also follow news coverage of the shutdown to stay informed about any changes to government services.
- Plan ahead. If you rely on government services, such as Social Security or Medicare, it is important to plan ahead for a possible shutdown. Make sure you have enough money to cover your expenses in case the shutdown lasts for an extended period of time.
- Contact your elected officials. Let your elected officials know how a government shutdown would impact you. You can do this by calling their offices, sending them emails, or attending town hall meetings.
A government shutdown is a serious matter that can have a significant impact on millions of Americans. It is important to stay informed and to plan ahead if the government shuts down on October 1.