House Speaker Kevin McCarthy managed to avoid an embarrassing roadblock in his plan to avoid a government shutdown when lawmakers approved a test vote for the GOP’s stopgap bill.
The early victory on Friday could be a good sign for House leadership, but holdout votes still have an opportunity to sink the legislation. Mr. McCarthy, California Republican, has dared them to vote against it.
A contingent of at least seven conservatives, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz, have vowed never to vote for a stopgap measure in order to force the House to pass spending bills one at a time and break Washington’s reliance on colossal omnibus bills and short-term bills that keep the government funded.
When asked after the test vote how many votes he still had to sink a stopgap, Mr. Gaetz, Florida Republican, said “enough.” The federal government will partially shut down at midnight on Saturday if a short-term bill doesn’t pass the House and Senate.
Mr. McCarthy’s legislation has a wishlist of conservative policies, including a steep spending cut of $1.471 trillion for the measure’s duration until Oct. 31, the creation of a 16-member debt commission and most of the Secure the Border Act.
That wish list, particularly the addition of the border provisions, also means that the bill will be met with a buzzsaw in the Democrat-led Senate.
Rep. Dan Bishop, North Carolina Republican and an entrenched holdout vote, said that he was voting against a stopgap that has “silly stuff in it.” When pressed, he asked reporters whether the Secure the Border Act would actually be accepted by the Senate. The upper chamber has not taken up the bill since it was passed by the House in May.
“I rest my case,” Mr. Bishop said.