WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is a man who keeps on the move – enthusiastically greeting tourists at the Capitol, storming overseas for the G7 summit of the world’s industrial leaders last week and raising funds at home to elect his fellow Republicans to the House majority.
But behind the whirlwind of activity lies a stubborn gridlock, a power imbalance between the far-right Republicans who brought McCarthy to power the role of the speaker Still, he is endangering his own ability to lead the House.
It will be a political stalemate tested again As the House returns from a long summer recess this week, McCarthy faces a collision course full of difficult challenges – preventing a government shutdown, supporting Ukraine in the war and launching an impeachment inquiry into the president Joe Biden.
“You have a really tough job ahead of you,” said the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, John Thune of South Dakota.
McCarthy, of California, will have his “hands full figuring out how to navigate and execute,” he said.
Congress has been here before, as has McCarthy his nearly two decades in officeBut the stakes are increasing as Republicans are driven by an increasingly right-wing faction that refuses to continue business as usual in Washington.
Backed by former President Donald Trump, McCarthy’s right wing pushed him into the speakership earlier this year only after he agreed to a long list of conservative demands – including the possibility of calling a snap vote to “vacate the chair” and remove him from office.
The danger of a sudden fall hovers over his every move, especially now.
First, Congress must set a deadline finance the government until the end of the month or risk a potentially devastating federal shutdown. Congress has just 11 working days to decide once it resumes session on Tuesday.
Facing backlash from conservatives who want to cut government funding, McCarthy may be able to ease the way by turning to another far-right priority and launching an impeachment inquiry into Biden over the business dealings of the president’s son, Hunter Biden.
It’s an unusual and politically sensitive undertaking for McCarthy to preside over both avenues – a government funding process alongside an impeachment campaign.
But I’m starting a formal event Impeachment inquiry Trump’s interest in Biden could help appease Republican allies of Trump, who has emerged as the GOP front-runner to face Biden in the 2024 White House election.
“He’s being pressured,” Brad Woodhouse, a veteran Democratic operative, said of McCarthy. Woodhouse is now a senior adviser to the Congressional Integrity Project, which is preparing to criticize Republicans over Biden’s impeachment.
The White House said Biden was not involved in his son’s business.
But Trump’s Republican allies in the House of Representatives are working hard to uncover any connections between Biden and what they portray as his son’s business Hunter Biden B. trading the family name for financial gain and working to undermine public support for the president before the presidential election.
Republicans have so far failed to produce evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden.
White House spokesman Ian Sams said: “Speaker McCarthy should not give in to the far-right members who are threatening to shut down the government unless they receive a baseless and evidence-free impeachment trial against President Biden.” The consequences for the American people are too serious.”
In the meantime, it was supposed to be a fairly prescriptive process for funding the government after McCarthy and Biden negotiated a More than a trillion dollar deal The debt limit breach earlier this summer appears to be falling apart. Even a stopgap measure to simply keep government funding at existing levels for a few months while Congress tries to finalize spending legislation is a non-starter for McCarthy’s right flank.
Conservatives backed by the House Freedom Caucus insist that federal spending be scaled back to 2022 levels and they want to add other priorities to the legislation.
If not, they say they will reject a temporary measure, called a continuing resolution (CR), to keep the government running.
“We must rein in reckless inflationary spending and the out-of-control federal bureaucracy that funds it,” the Freedom Caucus wrote in a statement in late August.
With dozens of votes, the far right can deny McCarthy the support he needs to pass Republican legislation on his own. But relying on Democratic votes would create other problems for McCarthy if he is seen as disloyal to his ranks.
Conservatives want to strengthen border security and address what Republicans deride as a “weapon” of Justice Department prosecutions, including those charged in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. They also want to end what they call the Pentagon’s “woke” policy as the Defense Department seeks to provide diversity, equity and inclusion to military personnel.
Signaling the tough road ahead, Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida, mockingly posted one of McCarthy’s recent videos greeting tourists at the Capitol.
“Kevin’s opinion that this was the video we needed at this moment is depressingly revealing,” Gaetz said on social media.
“We need a speaker, not a greeter.”
There is also a pending request in Congress from the White House to provide an additional $40 billion on three fronts – about $21 billion in military and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine to combat the Russian invasion; $12 billion to replenish federal disaster relief after floods, fires and other problems, including to stem the flow of deadly fentanyl at the U.S. southern border with Mexico.
McCarthy has vowed there will be no “blank check” for Ukraine as he works to appease skeptical Republicans who want to end U.S. involvement in foreign affairs, particularly with regard to Russia.
While the shutdown is the more pressing issue for McCarthy, the impeachment inquiry into Biden is his bigger political gamble.
McCarthy has announced that an impeachment inquiry is imminent. But there is “no date circled on the calendar,” said a person familiar with his thinking, granting anonymity to discuss it.
Not all Republicans in the House of Representatives are interested in impeachment proceedings. “We can waste our time on issues that are not important, or we can focus on issues that are,” Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., said Sunday on MSNBC’s “Inside with Jen Psaki.” .
Trump faces more serious allegations of misconduct, including federal charges over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, which he lost to Biden, and his refusal to return classified documents kept at his Mar-a-Lago estate. He has been charged four times this year.
As they watch the Senate work to pass all 12 regular bills needed to fund government operations in committees ahead of votes starting next week, Republicans are hoping cooler heads prevail on all fronts in the House become.
Several Republicans have made no secret of their disinterest in impeaching Biden.
And Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski said those who don’t think a federal government shutdown is a big deal should visit her state, Alaska, and see “real life.”
During a previous government shutdown, Murkowski said crabbers couldn’t get into the water because federal permits couldn’t be issued.
“You know, there’s a lot going on here in Congress right now,” she said. “So the House needs to clarify its priorities, and hopefully they will be priorities that are in the best interest of the work of good governance.”
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