WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy warned members of his caucus on Thursday that they could suffer a political toll if they allow the government to shut down early next month amid a fight over spending.
“Nobody wins in a government shutdown,” McCarthy told reporters following a closed-door party meeting.
McCarthy said that after this weekend he plans to keep the House in session until it passes funding to keep the government funded past Sept. 30, when its current funding expires.
The federal government would enter its fourth shutdown in a decade beginning on Oct. 1 unless the Republican-controlled House and Democratic Senate can pass a long- or short-term funding bill and Democratic President Joe Biden signs it into law.
Members of the hardline Republican House Freedom Caucus and other conservatives have vowed not to support spending measures until McCarthy agrees to limit fiscal 2024 spending to a 2022 level of $1.47 trillion, $120 billion below the level he agreed to with Biden in May.
Republican Representative Don Bacon, a moderate voice in the caucus, sounded a similar note.
“It’s a mistake to shut down the government,” Bacon said. “It’s so shortsighted to be pushing for a shutdown. So whatever I can do to stop it I am.”
Political brinkmanship already has prompted the Fitch rating agency to downgrade U.S. debt to AA+ from its top-notch AAA designation, partly because of repeated down-to-the-wire negotiations that threaten the government’s ability to pay its bills.