Government shutdown warnings rise as Republicans seek deeper cuts in budget battle

June 17, 2023  -WASHINGTON (AP) — Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s bid to appease Republican hard-liners and get the House moving again after a recent party rebellion on the floor has some Democrats warning of a difficult road ahead when it comes to passing legislation that will keep the government running.

Republicans teed up votes this past week on guns and on censuring one of former President Donald Trump’s most prominent critics, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. Those votes helped get the House moving again, though the latter effort failed, with Schiff helped by some 20 Republicans.

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The most consequential move of the week, however, was an announcement from GOP leadership that arrived with little fanfare. Republicans said they plan to pursue appropriations bills, which fund government programs and agencies, with less spending than the top-line numbers they agreed to in a deal with the White House last month. That compromise avoided what would have been an unprecedented federal default.

McCarthy argued that the numbers he negotiated with the White House amount to a cap and “you can always do less.” GOP Rep. Kay Granger of Texas, who leads the House Appropriations Committee, followed with a statement that said she would seek to limit nondefense spending at 2022 budget levels, saying the debt agreement “set a top-line spending cap -– a ceiling, not a floor.”

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