House Speaker Kevin McCarthy Faces Opposition within His Own Party as Government Shutdown Looms

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is facing a major challenge within his own party as a dozen Republican lawmakers publicly declared their opposition to his latest effort to keep the government open. This opposition threatens to define McCarthy's legacy as the leader of a nonfunctional party that constantly creates national crises.[0] McCarthy has expressed frustration with the right-wing members of his caucus who refuse to pass even GOP bills that align with conservative priorities.[1] Some of these members have even threatened to oust McCarthy from his position as Speaker, citing disappointment in his leadership.

The proposed short-term spending bill, known as a continuing resolution, is seen as a necessary step to provide time for House Republicans to work through the remaining annual spending bills.[2] However, the current version of the bill lacks the necessary support to pass along partisan lines or with help from across the aisle in the highly polarized Congress.[2]

McCarthy immediately faced opposition from several GOP ultra-conservatives who could potentially doom the plan.[3] Six hard-right lawmakers quickly announced their opposition, putting McCarthy in a difficult position as he can only afford to lose four Republicans without Democratic support.

The situation is further complicated by the fact that McCarthy risks losing his speakership if he doesn't comply with the demands of the Freedom Caucus, a group of conservative lawmakers within the Republican party. These lawmakers want McCarthy to cut spending and disrupt President Biden's agenda. The pressure is mounting on McCarthy to negotiate a deal between the conservative and moderate factions within his party in order to pass the appropriations bills and fund the federal government.

Passing a federal budget is a crucial task that Congress must complete before the end of September every year.[4] McCarthy's slim majority in the House requires him to keep nearly the entire conference together in order to pass any legislation, unless he can gain support from Democrats.[5] This poses a significant challenge for McCarthy as he needs support from virtually all of his conference to pass a deal through the narrowly divided House.

Even if the proposed plan passed the House, it would likely be rejected by the Democratically controlled Senate.[6] However, McCarthy still needs the support of his conference to demonstrate unity within the party and to have leverage in negotiations over federal spending.

The proposed continuing resolution would fund the government through the end of October, with an 8% cut in discretionary spending for agencies outside of defense, veterans affairs, and disaster relief.[7] However, this plan is facing opposition from more than a dozen Republican hardliners who believe it doesn't go far enough in reining in spending.[7] These hardliners are pushing for deeper spending cuts and are willing to risk a government shutdown to achieve their goals.

McCarthy hopes to avoid a shutdown as it would undermine Republicans' leverage in negotiations over federal spending.[1] He wants to re-up current funding later in the fall and attach some border security measures to the package in order to sweeten the pot for conservatives.[1]

The math is not in McCarthy's favor as he can only afford four GOP holdouts without Democratic support. Several members have already stated their opposition to the resolution, and if a single member files a motion to vacate, McCarthy's position as Speaker could be jeopardized. It is increasingly likely that these threats will materialize if McCarthy cannot control the chaos within his conference.[8]

In conclusion, McCarthy is facing a significant challenge within his own party as he tries to pass a short-term spending bill and avoid a government shutdown. The opposition from right-wing members of his caucus threatens to define his legacy as a leader of a nonfunctional party. McCarthy must navigate the demands of the conservative and moderate factions within his party while also dealing with the pressure to cut spending and disrupt President Biden's agenda. The outcome of these negotiations will determine the future of the Republican party and McCarthy's position as Speaker.

0. “An out-of-control GOP is the party of nonstop national crisis” The Hill, 19 Sep. 2023,

1. “Speaker McCarthy faces triangle of troubles” Fox News, 16 Sep. 2023,

2. “Avoiding government shutdown hinges on Republicans finding a deal” Deseret News, 19 Sep. 2023,

3. “Debt Ceiling Fight Begins, McCarthy Dares the House to Get Rid of Him – MishTalk” Mish Talk, 18 Sep. 2023,

4. “Why Hard-Right Republicans Could Force A Government Shutdown After Rejecting Fiscal Year 2024 Spending Proposal” Forbes, 18 Sep. 2023,

5. “Five Republicans Join Democrats in Funding-Bill Fight” Newsweek, 19 Sep. 2023,

6. “Tensions flare inside House GOP as moderates explore new plan to avoid shutdown” CNN, 19 Sep. 2023,

7. “House Republicans fail to advance GOP-backed defense bill amid conference chaos” New York Post , 19 Sep. 2023,

8. “Kevin McCarthy Is Getting Desperate as Government Shutdown Looms” Vanity Fair, 18 Sep. 2023,

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