Republican Demands and Divisions Drive Impasse Toward a Shutdown

The spending showdown that has brought the government to the brink of a partial shutdown this week is being fueled by Republicans in Congress, who, after failing in their efforts to slash federal funding, are still insisting on right-wing policy dictates.

House Republicans loaded up their spending bills with hundreds of partisan policy mandates, a vast majority of which had no chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate or being signed by President Biden.

They include measures to target various pieces of Mr. Biden’s agenda, such as one to restrict access to abortion medication and another to restrict the Department of Veterans Affairs from flagging veterans deemed mentally incompetent in a federal background check needed to buy a gun.

With just four days remaining before funding lapses for roughly a quarter of the government, some of those issues are emerging as major sticking points in negotiations to reach a deal to keep the money flowing. Republicans also are objecting to a proposed increase for federal programs aimed at providing nutrition assistance for low-income families as well as for women and infants.

Complicating the picture for Speaker Mike Johnson, who met at the White House on Tuesday with President Biden and the other top congressional leaders, Republicans themselves have been divided over what to push for in spending talks. Ultraconservative lawmakers who rarely support spending legislation have been the loudest voices in favor of cuts and hard-line policy provisions, but more mainstream and politically endangered Republicans have refused to back them.

In one case last fall, the more moderate lawmakers helped to sink a spending bill that prevented money from being spent to enforce a District of Columbia law that protects employees from being discriminated against for seeking contraception or abortion services.

Related Articles

Back to top button