Government on brink of shutdown ahead of midnight deadline

CNN  — 

Federal agencies are making final preparations with the government on the brink of a shutdown and congressional lawmakers racing against Saturday’s critical midnight deadline.

But the likelihood of averting a shutdown appears slim after GOP House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Friday again failed to find agreement within his own party to extend government funding, leaving Congress at an impasse.

Infighting among House Republicans has played a central role in bringing Congress to a standoff over spending – and it is not yet clear how the issue will be resolved, raising concerns on Capitol Hill that a shutdown, if triggered, may not be easy to end.

A shutdown is expected to have consequential impacts across the country, from air travel to clean drinking water, and many government operations would grind to a halt – though services deemed essential for public safety would continue.

House Republicans have so far thrown cold water on a bipartisan Senate proposal to keep the government funded through November 17, but they have failed to coalesce around a plan of their own to avert a shutdown amid resistance from a bloc of hardline conservatives to any kind of short-term funding extension.

McCarthy suffered another high-profile defeat on Friday when the House failed to advance a last-ditch stopgap bill.

House GOP leadership has told members that further votes are now expected on Saturday, but it is not yet clear what the chamber would vote on.

In the aftermath of Friday’s failed vote, McCarthy told reporters he had proposed putting up a “clean” stopgap bill, and said he was “working through maybe to be able to do that.”

“We’re continuing to work through – trying to find the way out of this,” McCarthy said.

The Senate’s bipartisan bill would provide additional funds for Ukraine aid, creating a point of contention with the House where many Republicans are opposed to further support to the war-torn country.

McCarthy argued on Friday that aid to Ukraine should be dropped from the Senate bill. “I think if we had a clean one without Ukraine on it, we could probably be able to move that through. I think if the Senate puts Ukraine on there and focuses on Ukraine over America, I think that could cause real problems,” he told CNN’s Manu Raju.

McCarthy is now confronting the most significant challenge to his leadership to date as he faces pushback from hardline conservatives and threats of a vote to oust him as speaker.

The Senate, meanwhile, is working to advance its own bipartisan stopgap bill. The chamber is on track to take a procedural vote Saturday afternoon to move forward with the bill. But it’s not yet clear when senators could take a final vote to pass the bill and it may not happen until Monday, after the government has already shut down.

GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has been a roadblock to the Senate reaching a deal to speed up consideration of the bill as he protests its inclusion of additional aid to Ukraine.

Border security has also become a complicating factor for the Senate bill as many Republicans now want to see the bill amended to address the issue.

Senate Republicans said Friday that they were still discussing what kind of border amendment they would want to add to the bill, and were unsure if the chamber could even advance the bill in Saturday’s procedural vote without the addition of a border amendment.

“Nothing’s really coming together, too many moving parts at this stage,” said Sen. Mike Braun, an Indiana Republican. “I think what I understand is we’re going to have a vote tomorrow … and other than that, there’s nothing that’s really crystallized in anything that probably would be palatable with the House.”

CNN’s Betsy Klein contributed to this report.


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