House members packed it up for the week after once again failing to reach an agreement on any spending measures ahead of the looming government shutdown deadline, eliciting a gibe from President Joe Biden.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has until September 30 to broker an agreement between his caucus members, with five GOP hard-liners consistently voting against the majority of their party over frustrations with McCarthy’s leadership. Just hours before the chamber headed into weekend break, the five holdouts again blocked a key Pentagon funding bill from advancing to debate, calling for additional spending cuts to the bill.
“It’s frustrating in the sense that I don’t understand how anyone votes against bringing the idea up and having the debate,” McCarthy told reporters as he left the House floor, reported NBC News.
“This is a whole new concept of individuals that just want to burn the whole place down,” the speaker added. “That doesn’t work.”
As lawmakers headed home Thursday afternoon, President Joe Biden took to X, formerly Twitter, to express frustration about the lack of cohesion in the GOP. The White House has asked Congress to approve a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government funded through October, but there is no indication that an agreement on a smaller bill can be reached by the deadline.
“Last time there was a government shutdown, 800,000 Americans were furloughed or worked without pay,” Biden wrote on X. “But enjoy your weekend.”
Other Democrats joined in on the mockery online. Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman, who has been the center of attention for some Republicans this week due to his workplace sartorial selections, also responded to news of the weekend break on his X account.
“After a long week of whining about my outfit choices, the GOP is heading home,” the senator wrote, along with a video of a young girl rolling her eyes. “Good thing they didn’t have anything important to do this week …”
Newsweek contacted McCarthy’s office via email for comment.
The last time the government shut down was in December 2018 over demands from former President Donald Trump for Congress to provide funding to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. That shutdown lasted 35 days, the longest in U.S. history.
McCarthy spent over two hours in a closed-door meeting with House Republicans Wednesday night in an attempt to hammer out a new short-term plan to keep the government running, which would include a steep 8 percent cut to many federal programs. The bill, however, is likely to be struck down by the Democratic-controlled Senate if it finds a way through the House, reported the Associated Press.
A representative from House Majority Whip Tom Emmer’s office told ABC News that lawmakers would be given “ample notice” if a vote is scheduled during the break, and that members will be “on call” through the weekend.