WASHINGTON, Sept 19 (Reuters) – House Republicans failed to advance the U.S. defense spending bill for fiscal 2024 on Tuesday, with internal party divisions threatening the Congress’ ability to fund the government and avoid a partial shutdown at the end of the year. month.
The Republican-led House voted 214-212 to reject a rule that would have opened debate on the $886 billion appropriations bill. Five radical Republican conservatives, who demand deep spending cuts, joined Democrats in opposing the measure.
Meanwhile, infighting within House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s Republican majority also prevented lawmakers from agreeing on a short-term measure to keep federal agencies afloat after the expiration of the current funding, September 30, last day of fiscal year 2023.
The defense spending bill had to be withdrawn a week ago due to opposition from hard-liners, who want assurances that budget appropriations for 2024 will not exceed the $1,000 cap. $47 trillion for 2022, or $120 billion less than the funding level set by McCarthy and President Joe Biden. in May.
The House vote came hours after McCarthy delayed a key procedural vote on the 30-day stopgap measure known as a continuing resolution, or CR.
Speaking to reporters at the U.S. Capitol, McCarthy said the House would consider a vote to open debate on the bill once lawmakers have enough time to reach agreement on the legislation.
The pending resolution faces opposition from more than a dozen hardline Republican conservatives, enough to block its passage in the House.
The CR would keep federal agencies afloat through Oct. 31, but cut discretionary spending by agencies outside of defense, veterans affairs and disaster relief by about 8 percent. It would also impose some restrictions on immigration and resume construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Republican hardliners who oppose the measure said it doesn’t go far enough to cut spending and constrain Democratic President Joe Biden’s administration.
The measure also faces stiff opposition from Democrats in the House and Senate, who have decried its spending cuts and immigration policy changes.
Reporting by David Morgan, Katharine Jackson and Moira Warburton; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Will Dunham
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