Federal agencies brace for shutdown after House fails to pass spending bill with one day to go

About McCarthy and other lawmakers who vowed to decline pay during a shutdown, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Shalanda Young says: “That is theater. I will tell you, the guy that picks up the trash in my office won’t get a paycheck. That’s real and that’s what makes me angry"

Published: September 29, 2023 11:39pm

Updated: September 30, 2023 8:45am

Federal government agencies are bracing for a partial government shutdown after the Republican-led House on Friday failed to pass a 30-day stopgap funding bill due to opposition from House Democrats and conservatives, moving the nation one step closer to a shutdown at midnight on Saturday.

Under a shutdown, essential workers such as federal law enforcement will remain on the job without pay. The Biden administration has begun contingency plans for a shutdown with the White House declaring Friday it would hurt federal workers in non-essential positions most.

Government operated facilities like national parks and monuments would close. According to Reuters, the Smithsonian Museums have enough funding on reserve to stay open for about a week after a shutdown occurs. Social Security payments will continue to go out but food aid programs like Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and certain health-related programs could see a halt in benefit payments, according to the Office of Management and Budget.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Ca.) told reporters early on Friday that the GOP-led House planned to vote on a 30-day stopgap measure to temporarily fund the government that includes spending reductions in spending and funding to address the border crisis. The 30-day timeframe would give the House more time to pass "single subject" appropriations bills, which members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus support. They are opposed to one large year-long bill that funds the entire government. 

McCarthy said the House is close to returning to "regular order" after it passed 4 of 12 appropriations bills, and the 30-day funding bill would give the chamber additional time to pass the rest. Despite this, 21 conservative Republicans joined Democrats and voted against the temporary spending bill, defeating it 232-198.

"While the House has not passed all of our appropriations bills, and the Senate has not passed any approps, we are in a position where a continuing resolution with border security is better than a shutdown," Rep. Austin Scott, (R-Ga.) who voted in favor of the bill, said after the vote.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell agreed to a 45-day continuing resolution this week to keep the government running, but House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has said that Republicans would not support it. 

McCarthy said that funding is needed as part of any federal spending bill that passes to address the border crisis, noting that in 5 days there were 50,000 illegal border crossings.

The California Republican told reporters that the border barrier should be completed along open areas of the border and holes in the wall should be filled. 

“Every member will have to go on record on where they stand. Are they willing to secure the border or do they side with President Biden on an open border?” he said during a news conference on Friday. "We hope Democrats will join with us. I hope Democrats won't vote to shutdown the government."

House conservatives have been pushing for about $120 billion in spending cuts. McCarthy was asked why he won't move forward with the Senate's funding proposal if it passes. In response, McCarthy said it shouldn't be assumed that he is going to do whatever the Senate does.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the ball is in the House GOP's court. “The path forward to fund the government has been laid out by the Senate with bipartisan support — House Republicans just need to take it," she said.

OMB Director Shalanda Young criticized McCarthy for saying he would not accept a paycheck if there's a government shutdown.

“Look, I’m glad that the Speaker’s made that statement. By the way, members of Congress have to get paid constitutionally, so maybe he’ll put it in a sock drawer. I don’t know, but they have to get paid during a shutdown,” Young said on Friday.

“That is theater. I will tell you, the guy that picks up the trash in my office won’t get a paycheck. That’s real and that’s what makes me angry,” Young said.

After the failed stopgap bill vote on Friday, McCarthy was asked what's in his back pocket before the deadline.

“Nothing right now,” he said. “I’m broke.”

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