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Congressional spending fight could blow past deadline for shutdown

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Well, with about one day to go before a government shutdown, the Republican-led House imploded over a key vote. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy faced a humiliating blow when a new Republican spending stopgap failed.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MIKE LAWLER: On this vote, the yeas are 198. The nays are 232. The bill is not passed.

CHANG: It was part of a series of failed votes in the House on spending bills, none of which would have prevented a shutdown. Now the Senate and House remain far apart on how to solve this crisis. And NPR congressional correspondent Claudia Grisales. is here with more. Hey, Claudia.

CLAUDIA GRISALES, BYLINE: Hi, Ailsa.

CHANG: OK, so explain why it matters that this House bill in particular failed today.

GRISALES: Well, it's a reminder of how dire this moment is. It was just very shocking to see 21 Republicans vote against a spending bill crafted by their own leadership to meet the demands of their own party. It signals this widening gap between Speaker McCarthy and his conference. That is, they're moving farther apart as this government shutdown deadline gets closer. And so now the House was trying to raise and finally pass their own bill as the Senate's working through a proposal of their own. So it's sent House members now back behind closed doors to see if they can find some sort of Hail Mary pass at this point. But, again, this was a partisan bill, did not get enough support so far. And this is as the Democratic-led Senate's trying to work on their own plan.

CHANG: Right. Well, let's talk about Democrats because I feel like we've been talking a lot about Republicans infighting with each other. What about Democrats?

GRISALES: So in the House, they're sticking to their posture and elsewhere that Republicans are to blame for this impending shutdown. And these House Democrats are largely on the sidelines, putting more stock into this bipartisan proposal that's making its way through the Senate. The hope is that the Senate can convince McCarthy to allow a vote on this plan. It would pass under bipartisan support in the House, but because of Senate rules, that bill won't make it to the House until later this weekend and likely not in time to avert a shutdown.

CHANG: Right.

GRISALES: That said, Senate members are still trying to come up with their own Hail Mary pass. So we'll see. But it's hard to say it will happen fast enough.

CHANG: Well, where does the White House stand at this point?

GRISALES: So they're arguing they've done their part here. They point to a deal that was made between President Biden and Speaker McCarthy earlier this year. This was the debt limit deal to avert this kind of scenario when it came to funding. Shalanda Young, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, talked to reporters about this at the White House today.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SHALANDA YOUNG: Enough is enough. A deal is a deal. Extreme House Republicans need to stop playing political games with people's lives, keep their promise and keep the government open.

GRISALES: And Young was part of these negotiations earlier this year on the debt limit. She worked with Speaker McCarthy's team and going back and forth to the White House. But McCarthy later walked away from details of this plan that included the spending expectations for later this year after pressure from hard-line Republicans.

CHANG: Well, Claudia, it does seem like a government shutdown is pretty much inevitable. How quickly do you think people are going to be feeling the effects of this?

GRISALES: Well, pretty quickly. Come Monday, government services that are normally there will be impacted. Many federal workers will be furloughed. And while those who are considered essential - they'll be forced to work essentially for free without any guarantee they're going to get back pay. And this includes members of the military. Federal agencies will have to shutter certain departments. And as each day goes by, this impact will widen, and more Americans will feel it.

CHANG: That is NPR congressional correspondent Claudia Grisales. Thank you so much, Claudia.

GRISALES: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Claudia Grisales is a congressional reporter assigned to NPR's Washington Desk.

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