Republicans Secretly Anticipate a Government Shutdown

( – The possibility of a government shutdown has been looming for months as the House has struggled to pass the appropriations bills needed to fund the government. Lawmakers have been able to pass continuing resolutions in order to postpone the shutdown, but even that looks iffy as the next deadlines loom. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has found himself in a similar predicament to the one that ousted former Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) from the role. Recent reports indicate that Republicans secretly anticipate that the government will partially or fully shut down.

While the mood was originally cautiously optimistic, that no longer seems to be the case, per a recent scoop by Axios. An anonymous GOP lawmaker spoke with the outlet, saying, “people are predicting a shutdown, even if it’s just for a few days.” That conflicts with what Johnson said earlier this month when he spoke with reporters and seemed confident that they were going “to meet the deadlines.”

Johnson is likely to find himself between a rock and a hard place in the coming days because he’s reportedly considering seeking Democratic help to pass a deal. He would need their votes in order to reach a two-thirds majority. Another source told Axios that it would “be difficult to do what we need to do” and manage to avoid someone submitting a motion to vacate like they did to McCarthy.

Currently, there are two deadlines. By March 1, in the absence of passing a budget, lawmakers need to have a stopgap in place. If that fails to happen, there will be a partial shutdown. If they can’t reach a consensus by March 8, it will trigger a full government shutdown. However, the House must pass a budget bill by April 30, or there will be a 1% spending cut across the board.

The House hardliners, the Freedom Caucus, want Johnson to give up on the idea of working with Democrats. As an alternative, they want him to implement the automatic spending cut that McCarthy approved.

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