Republicans are stalled right now and can’t even adopt a simple provision to bring to the floor what is historically one of the most popular bills in Congress: The annual defense spending bill.
The House’s fights over funding the government could mark the worst run for any majority in modern House history. Republicans hold a slim majority and only a few holdout votes can derail the process completely.
House Republicans tried last week to bring the defense spending plan for debate. But the GOP set that aside because they lacked the votes.
Then they tried to approve the ‘rule’ for the defense bill Tuesday. That went up in flames.
They tried again Thursday, but that vote imploded — and a few hours later, members were quietly told that the House was done for the week.
‘Rules’ typically don’t fail in the House. Moreover, if the majority leadership suspect a rule will fail, they usually don’t bring the issue to the floor.
The GOP brought ‘rules’ for the defense bill to the floor twice this week — even though they were destined to fail.
Defeat of the rule prevents the House from even debating the defense bill.
The House Republican majority has splintered over government funding and how to avoid a government shutdown, which would occur if no action is taken on spending by September 30.
The majority ditched a plan hatched over the weekend to fund the government on an interim basis, cut spending and beef up the border. That plan was dead on arrival by Tuesday.
Republicans huddled for over two hours Wednesday night on a bill to temporarily fund the government, pass additional appropriations bills, cut spending and create a commission to study the debt. That plan — purportedly set for debate on Saturday — is on life support at best.
The failed vote also seemed unexpected, since GOP lawmakers emerged from a closed-door conference meeting on Wednesday evening expressing confidence that they could pass a 30-day stopgap spending deal to avoid a shutdown while passing a series of individual spending bills — only one of which has passed so far.
The setbacks this week mark a bad omen that a government shutdown could be a fait accompli — simply because Republicans can’t do anything about it. The House majority is seemingly stymied right now at approving any bills.
The House went into recess, and Fox News learned that some members were told they could go home for the week. The chamber can remain in session for days without calling any votes if it reconvenes at certain intervals.
The House Rules Committee remains on call for the weekend, and discussions on fiscal year 2024 appropriations will continue, GOP Whip Tom Emmer’s office advised members.
Fox News’ Elizabeth Elkind contributed reporting.