McCarthy Struggling to Find Leverage in Spending Bills

By Jerry McConway, updated on September 19, 2023

House Speaker McCarthy (R-CA) is getting nowhere in budget talks right now.

Not only is he facing challenges for leverage with the Senate, but he also cannot even get his own caucus behind him.

The frustration is beginning to show, as McCarthy has all but thrown up his hands in surrender.

Talking Points…

  • The spending bill
  • The Resistance
  • What McCarthy is saying
  • My Two Cents…

The Spending Bill

During negotiations with Joe Biden, McCarthy agreed to numbers for the spending budget in the debt ceiling agreement.

However, after the fact, he agreed to spending bills that were $120 billion less than previously agreed. This was to pacify Republicans who were furious with the excessive spending of the federal government and the lack of funding for border security.

The government shutdown will take place on October 1 if McCarthy cannot get this figured out.

The Resistance

There are three key points that are holding all of this up.

First, as noted above, some House Republicans in the Freedom Caucus are demanding border security, including border wall construction, be included in the bill.

Second, they want assurances that the weaponization of the Department of Justice will stop.

Third, they want to see significant cuts to the overall budget so we can start to see a decline in the federal deficit.

Kevin McCarthy

McCarthy is beyond frustrated because House members are sticking to their guns and not budging.

McCarthy is not getting an inch of wiggle room on this to pass anything. To that point, he has only managed to get one out of about a dozen bills passed so far.

On Monday, McCarthy stated:

"If you're not willing to pass appropriations bills and you're not willing to pass a continuing resolution that will allow you to pass the rest of the appropriation bills and you don't want an omnibus, I don't quite know what you want."

McCarthy actually reached a deal with the Freedom Caucus on Sunday, but then another group of Republicans pushed back on that deal, enough to prevent the budget from passing if Democrats hold the line.

Meanwhile, Republican Senators are horrified by the lack of control of McCarthy in the House.

Senator Kevin Cramer (R-S.D.) stated, "The House is a raucous, partisan body by design of our founders. I don't think they intended it to be dysfunctional.

"When process turns to chaos, you don't have good outcomes."

My Two Cents…

When the House was voting on Speaker, I was adamant that I did not want McCarthy, as I believe current congressional and party leadership has failed us over the last decade.

McCarthy clearly did not have the full support of the House, taking multiple votes and backroom deals to get the gavel.

The Freedom Caucus knew they had him over a barrel when they finally gave McCarthy the vote, but now it is other House Republicans pushing back against the demands of the Freedom Caucus.

This is an absolute disaster for McCarthy, but this is exactly what they get for waiting until the last minute for these negotiations.

They pull this nonsense all the time, loving the drama of a last-minute deal, but that deal may not come this time and if the government does shut down, you better believe the Democrats and media will blame this all on McCarthy and a rogue House that he is unable to control.

All we will hear about is how Pelosi always kept her House in order and McCarthy is letting the tail wag the dog.

About Jerry McConway

Jerry McConway is an independent political author and investigator who lives in Dallas, Texas. He has spent years building a strong following of readers who know that he will write what he believes is true, even if it means criticizing politicians his followers support. His readers have come to expect his integrity.

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