Monday, May 27, 2024
HomenewsIlhan Omar names Democrats' price to save Kevin McCarthy as shutdown looms

Ilhan Omar names Democrats’ price to save Kevin McCarthy as shutdown looms

Representative Ilhan Omar laid out on Friday what Democrats would require of their GOP counterparts to save Kevin McCarthy‘s speakership as a government shutdown looms.

Congress faces an end-of-the-day deadline to pass legislation that would fund the federal government through the next fiscal year to avert a government shutdown, which would have wide-ranging effects for millions of Americans, including the hundreds of thousands of federal employees who would be furloughed. House Speaker McCarthy has struggled to strike a deal that would both appease the GOP conference’s most conservative members—who have threatened to file a motion to vacate his speakership if he strikes a deal with Democrats—while also passing the Senate, increasing the likelihood of a shutdown.

Republicans’ legislative showdown has fueled questions about whether Democrats could potentially leverage the shutdown threat to secure concessions from McCarthy in bipartisan appropriations legislation, in exchange for helping protect the California Republican’s position if conservative hardliners file a threat to his speakership.

Omar, a Minnesota Democrat who serves as the deputy chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said Democrats would likely push for a power-sharing agreement with McCarthy in exchange for bailing him out during an appearance on MSNBC‘s Alex Wagner Tonight on Friday.

Omar said she has spoken to some of the Democrats who may be more open to striking a bipartisan deal to save McCarthy, but they have indicated they would need a 50-50 power-sharing agreement to reach a deal.

Such an agreement would entail Democrats holding 50 percent of House committees and a shared agreement on legislation brought to a vote, Omar said.

“They’re not interested in saving a speaker who has made it his mission to take autonomy away from women by banning abortion, who has started the effort to cut social security, who is so pathetic that he’s willing to get 80 percent from heat assistance to so many people who rely [on it], especially Minnesotans, knowing that winter is coming,” the congresswoman said.

She continued: “This is a man who really doesn’t care about his constituents. The only thing he cares about is satisfying Marjorie Taylor Greene and the crazies in his caucus, and not about his constituents and the American people. I don’t think there’s going to be a single Democrat, unless this man makes an agreement, that we know we can fulfill, to let us cogovern with him.”

Newsweek reached out to Omar’s office for further comment via email.

Congress Scrambles to Fund Government

Congress’ scramble to pass legislation to fund the government continued into Saturday afternoon, as it was left with less than 12 hours until the shutdown would begin.

McCarthy announced that he would instead turn to a continuing resolution (CR) that would keep the government open, funding it at similar levels over 45 days. But it remained unclear whether that bill had enough support to pass as Democrats raised concerns about the bill, and conservatives have voiced opposition to a short-term funding bill.

Representative Katherine Clark, a Massachusetts Democrat, filed a motion to adjourn Congress, saying that Democrats wanted 90 minutes to read over the bill to ensure it is “clean,” but that request was allegedly denied.

McCarthy wrote on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, that a bipartisan Senate bill “has no path forward and is dead on arrival” on Friday night. He told CNN that he would probably be able to pass a clean CR without additional funding for Ukraine, a key sticking point for conservatives who have opposed military aid for the war-torn country amid Russia’s invasion.

Twenty-one Republicans joined Democrats in voting down a short-term funding bill on Friday.

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