Washington, Sep 30 (IANS): US House Republicans rejected a newly crafted stopgap funding bill backed by Speaker Kevin McCarthy that would have kept the government open for a month at reduced spending levels.
This comes on Friday afternoon as a group of hard-right Republicans handed McCarthy yet another defeat in his efforts to avoid a government shutdown.
The 165-page bill, known as a continuing resolution, failed by a vote of 198 to 232. Twenty-one Republicans joined all Democrats in voting against the legislation, CBS News reported.
Earlier in the day, House Republicans advanced the bill as a federal government shutdown after Saturday midnight appears increasingly inevitable.
Following the final vote, McCarthy said he had "other ideas" and would meet with Republican members later Friday to chart a path forward. Asked what the logical next step is, McCarthy replied: "Keep working and make sure we solve this problem", the media outlet reported.
A number of Republican holdouts who have objected to passing a short-term deal were apparently unmoved by the inclusion of billions of dollars to bolster security at the US-Mexico border, which McCarthy had hoped would attract their support.
The House Republicans' stopgap bill, unveiled Friday morning, proposed to extend funding until October 31 and impose roughly 30-per cent spending cuts on most federal agencies, except funding for national defence, veterans affairs, national security and disaster relief, according to a report by The Hill.
Friday's stopgap bill marked deeper spending cuts than a previous one released by McCarthy, which would cut spending for most federal agencies by 8 per cent and tighten immigration restrictions. That bill was opposed by conservatives within the Republican Party, who demanded steeper spending cuts and leaned against any stopgap bill, Xinhua news agency reported.
A bipartisan Senate-proposed bill, unveiled Tuesday, is expected to fund the government until November 17, the week before Thanksgiving, with the funding levels continuing at the same levels as before. It includes roughly $6 billion of aid for Ukraine and about 6 billion in disaster relief funding.
McCarthy said earlier this week that he didn't see support for the Senate measure in the House, which means there is little chance it will be brought to the House floor.
A group of conservatives have voiced concerns about Ukraine aid -- urging the Biden administration to make it part of the spending cuts -- and criticized the bill for a lack of border security provisions, which revealed the partisan divide over immigration policy.
The US government started notifying federal workers on Thursday that a shutdown seems to be imminent.
In a government shutdown, all non-essential operations will be suspended, and many federal workers will be furloughed.
JPMorgan estimates that each week of government shutdown reduces GDP growth by 0.1 percentage point.