WASHINGTON — Bipartisan lawmakers on Monday weighed in on a possible government shutdown, as pressure builds on House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to get something passed with less than a week before the deadline.
The House speaker, “has been able to deliver in a very razor-thin majority, so don’t count him out,” Rep. Jason Smith, R-Missouri, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, told “Squawk Box” on Monday.
McCarthy, R-California, is in a bind and can’t afford to lose more than four Republican votes on a spending bill. With Republican votes at a premium, the House Freedom Caucus, which boasted 49 members in January, has stalled budget negotiations by adopting a hard stance on domestic spending cuts. McCarthy could seek help from Democrats to secure votes to avoid a shutdown but that would put his speakership at risk.
Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tennessee, said Sunday that he might back ousting the House speaker if such a compromise is reached.
“The reality is this intra-Republican fighting and the dysfunction in their caucus is what will, in the end, bring about this shutdown, if it comes about,” Rep. Brendan Boyle, D-Pennsylvania, ranking member of the House Budget Committee, said on “Squawk Box” Monday.
“We’ve got a system in Washington where the very, very elite minority who only get attention during these time periods can throw a cog into the wheel and stop government,” Heitkamp added.
Failing to pass a spending bill by Saturday will affect non-essential government functions, such as pay for federal government employees and Social Security benefit verification. But it is not the crisis that many think it is, said Mick Mulvaney, former White House chief of staff under President Donald Trump.
“People will get paid at the end of this,” Mulvaney told “Squawk Box.” “Everything is going to be fine. It’s not a crisis. It’s just not the best way to reduce spending.”