When the House Returns, It’ll Be Crunch Time

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy conducts a news conference in the U.S. Capitol on Friday, July 14, 2023. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy likes to chide Capitol Hill reporters for underestimating his ability to push through legislation with a slim but fractious Republican majority. Yet even he has acknowledged that the House will fall short of his goal of passing 12 appropriations bills by September 30.

The House will return from its August recess on September 11 with only one of the bills to fund the U.S. government passed. Even if it could pass those dozen measures, all of them would need to be reconciled with the Senate’s versions. Instead, what looks all but assured is a continuing resolution (CR)—a bill temporarily extending current funding levels—to extend the appropriations deadline.

But members on the right flank of McCarthy’s conference say they won’t accept a “clean” CR. Their demands, which Democrats and some Republicans find unpalatable or even unacceptable, make a government shutdown in early October increasingly likely.

“My guess is we will have a lot of screaming and shouting and we’ll end up shutting down the government,” Utah Sen. Mitt Romney said in an interview with KSL News on Sunday.

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