Breaking News: McCarthy's Leadership Test amid Mounting Conservative Resistance as Shutdown Crisis Looms

Breaking News: McCarthy's Leadership Test amid Mounting Conservative Resistance as Shutdown Crisis Looms

As federal funding expiration looms, McCarthy faces mounting pressure amidst conservative resistance, intensifying the urgency for a viable plan to avert a government shutdown

With only five days remaining, Congress has yet to develop a feasible strategy to prevent a government shutdown. Lawmakers are starting to accept the notion of a shutdown as the end of the week approaches and federal funding is set to expire.

Both chambers' leadership aims to pass a temporary funding extension, but a group of uncompromising House conservatives strongly oppose the idea of a stopgap measure. They have intensified their efforts to pressure Speaker Kevin McCarthy to decide between a shutdown or facing a vote to remove him from his leadership position.

McCarthy, lacking GOP votes to pass a stopgap bill, is shifting focus early in the week to advancing a set of spending bills for the Defense and Homeland Security departments. Despite the passage of these bills, a shutdown at the end of the week will not be prevented. McCarthy had hoped that the momentum generated by these measures would convince enough holdouts to support a Republican stopgap bill, as conservatives demand the passage of full-year funding bills. However, it remains uncertain whether even these bills can progress due to significant divisions within the House Republican conference.

On Tuesday, McCarthy is set to face another leadership test as the House GOP leadership intends to hold a procedural vote on advancing those measures. This comes after hardliners caused a major embarrassment for the House GOP leaders by tanking a similar procedural vote for a defense bill last week. All eyes will be on the House to see if history repeats itself in this spectacle.

In the meantime, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are still in discussions regarding a short-term bill to keep the government open beyond September 30. However, there is no assurance that any Senate plan will be able to secure passage in the House.

Senate leaders are holding discussions on a proposal that has the potential to swiftly pass the chamber without getting hindered by procedural obstacles. A key question that remains unanswered is how to address the allocation of $16 billion for aiding natural disasters and $24 billion to support Ukraine, as confirmed by two Senate aides who are familiar with the matter.

Both parties are in talks over whether to incorporate a portion of the funding request or postpone it for a future date. Additionally, there is uncertainty surrounding the duration of the temporary resolution. In the event that the Ukraine funding is included, Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, has issued a threat to impede the passage of the bills.

The Senate is poised to hold an initial procedural vote on Tuesday evening to advance the House-approved Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill. This bill could potentially serve as a legislative instrument for the Senate's version of a stopgap bill, aiming to prevent a government shutdown.

The specific details of the Senate's stopgap bill have not yet been officially revealed. However, Schumer hinted last week that considering the House-approved FAA bill could provide a viable strategy for the Senate to avoid a government shutdown. As the FAA's current authority to operate is set to expire at the end of September, attaching a stopgap funding extension to the FAA bill would create yet another imminent deadline for lawmakers to take action.

McCarthy expressed his opposition to a shutdown on Monday, expressing optimism that Republican leadership possesses the necessary votes for the anticipated procedural vote on Tuesday. However, he deferred the final evaluation to the designated vote counters within the House GOP conference.

"We've received assurances from several individuals in favor of the rule," he stated, while acknowledging that he would entrust the whip with the ultimate decision.

Breaking News: McCarthy's Leadership Test amid Mounting Conservative Resistance as Shutdown Crisis Looms

A general view of the U.S. Capitol Building, in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, September 19, 2023.

Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA/AP

How a government shutdown could impact Americans

McCarthy expressed belief in the importance of maintaining openness, stating that the government becomes significantly more powerful in this state. The ramifications of a government shutdown would be extensive, affecting the entire nation. In the event of a shutdown, numerous government activities would cease, although certain services considered essential would persist.

Government operations and services that persist during a shutdown are those that are deemed essential for safeguarding public safety, national security, and other crucial reasons. Instances of such services that have remained functional in previous shutdowns encompass border protection, federal law enforcement, and air traffic control.

Report contributions by CNN's Manu Raju and Lauren Fox.