House Republicans left a closed-door conference meeting on Friday night frustrated and with no clear path forward on averting a government shutdown.
Government funding runs out at the end of the day today, and it’s all but certain that House and Senate lawmakers will not reach an agreement by midnight to stop nonessential government programs from grinding to a halt and thousands of federal workers from being furloughed.
‘The problem is, is the holdouts aren’t offering any other options. The holdouts say, well why don’t we have a shutdown and [work on the appropriations process] as if all of a sudden, the messy democracy that makes appropriations process difficult in the first place is somehow going to resolve itself,’ Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, told reporters when leaving the meeting. ‘It’s a f—ing democracy, it’s hard. And there’s no acknowledgment of that.’
A source in the room told Fox News Digital that the meeting was ‘very’ tense as Republicans traded barbs over whom to blame for the current predicament.
At one point Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., heaped blame on moderate Republicans and rural district conservatives for sinking one of four appropriations bills the House voted on Thursday night, the source said.
One of those conservatives, Rep. Randy Feenstra, R-Iowa, ‘stood up and said that’s bulls— and you know it,’ the source said, adding that Feenstra said it ‘multiple times.’
Another source familiar with the exchange confirmed Feenstra called out Good but did not give specifics on what he said.
Good meanwhile told reporters he felt the meeting went poorly.
‘What we heard was total capitulation’ by Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Good said. ‘I think the Speaker has basically capitulated to the Senate.’
Twenty-one Republican hardliners voted with Democrats earlier on Friday to sink the House GOP’s stopgap spending patch, known as a continuing resolution (CR). That bill was aimed at cutting funding to fiscal 2022 levels while also implementing measures from the House GOP border security bill.
But the source in the room told Fox News Digital that McCarthy warned members that the failure to coalesce may force the GOP-controlled House to consider a CR being led by Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., which would largely extend this current year’s funding while also providing extra dollars for Ukraine aid and U.S. disaster relief.
Another viable option for the House floated by several members, however, was a CR with the same House GOP priorities but cut down to a 14-day span rather than a month.
‘It would be it’d be a modification of what we did today, in a sense that we’d look at the calendar, the calendar that’s been put forward now and also look at, can we do it in 14 days…to ensure that everybody’s building confidence that we can work through these bills,’ Republican Study Committee Chair Kevin Hern, R-Okla., told reporters on Friday night.
Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., a member of the GOP whip team, said on Friday night that the conference was surveying support for the 14-day bill.
‘That’s happening right now,’ Barr said. ‘And if they have the votes on that, if there’s enough of them to change their mind – and some of them are, by the way, you’ve got a number of people who voted no who are changing their minds right now. And they will vote for the same thing that they voted against today, but at a shorter level. The question is, are there enough of them who are changing their mind?’
But it’s not clear that there’s a consensus on one clear path forward yet.
Freshman Rep. Andy Ogles, R-Tenn., said he floated the idea of a seven-day CR.
‘I think we can propose a seven day with some cuts, secure the border. And then we keep reauthorizing that on seven-day increments until we get done,’ Ogles said, adding that he raised the possibility in conference.
‘I proposed it in the room, I reached out to leadership this morning, made that suggestion early, and so it’s for discussion.’
House GOP lawmakers are meeting this morning, likely to discuss a path forward.
Lawmakers were told to prepare for votes on Saturday, but no lawmaker who exited the meeting could say definitely what they would be voting for.