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Government shutdown fears grow as House GOP spending bill fails

Republican spending plan fails in House vote

Washington—— house Republican leaders failed to pass a partisan short-term spending bill on Friday, leaving them with less than two days to go to fund the federal government and avert a shutdown.

The final voting result was 198 votes to 232 votes, more than 20 votes republican party Voting against his own party’s bill embarrassed House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

McCarthy cast the bill as at least a piecemeal step toward averting a government shutdown, albeit one destined to fail.

The government is scheduled to shut down at 12:01 p.m. ET on Sunday if the appropriations bill is not approved by Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden.

Republicans joining Democrats in voting against included some of McCarthy’s most vocal opponents, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz and Arizona Reps. Andy Biggs and Eli Klain.

The Republican bill would have funded the government through Oct. 31. But even if the bill passes, it has virtually no chance of passing in the Democratic-controlled Senate and Biden has no chance of signing it.

The vote comes a day after the Senate easily advanced its own short-term funding bill by a 76-22 margin. The next vote in that chamber is scheduled for Saturday.

The Senate bill is likely to be revised before Saturday’s vote, with the next version likely to include stronger border security measures demanded by House Republicans.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., died Thursday at her home in Washington, D.C., and will miss this weekend’s Senate vote.

McCarthy initially hoped that by passing his own spending bill, the House would get a counterpart to the Senate bill, setting the stage for resolving differences between the two in session.

But Friday’s vote dashed those hopes and left the House Republican majority in a weaker position in negotiations.

“I think the failure to act this afternoon clearly puts the Senate bill back in the ascendant,” Rep. Steve Womack, R-Arkansas, told NBC News.

The House Republican caucus plans to meet later Friday to chart next steps.

House Republican leadership unexpectedly informed lawmakers Friday afternoon that a vote would take place on Saturday. It’s unclear what they will vote on, but the news raised hopes among moderate Republicans and Democrats alike that McCarthy might agree to vote on a bipartisan Senate bill to fund the government.

The failure of the House bill provided political ammunition to Democrats and the White House, which accused Republicans of brinkmanship.

“We’re doing everything we can to plead, plead, shame House Republicans into doing the right thing,” Shalanda Young, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, told reporters.

She scoffed at McCarthy’s suggestion that she refuse to pay her salary during the government shutdown.

“This is theater,” Yang said.

“People who pick up trash in my office don’t get paid. That’s true.”

The White House said Biden would continue “conversations with Congress” in the coming days but insisted core elements of any spending bill had been agreed to as part of the debt ceiling deal earlier this year.

On Friday, employees at government agencies and the public across Washington braced for the impact of the government shutdown.

The Smithsonian Institution said it will use existing funding from last year to keep its museums and the National Zoo open at least next week.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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