Lawmakers in the House of Representatives were told they could go home for the week Thursday afternoon amid chaos and division over how to fund the government in the next fiscal year, Fox News has learned.
Votes had initially been expected on Friday and Saturday but members have now been advised by the House Majority Whip’s office that they will be given ample time to return if votes are called through the weekend.
If not, lawmakers are likely to return on Tuesday at the earliest due to the Yom Kippur holiday, leaving less than a week for Congress to hash out a spending deal by Sept. 30. If no action is taken, the government risks falling into a partial shutdown.
Formally adjourning for the week would require a majority vote, but it’s not clear that enough Republicans would agree to the measure for it to succeed.
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The House Rules Committee remains on call for the weekend and discussions on fiscal year 2024 appropriations will continue, GOP Whip Tom Emmer’s office advised members.
It comes hours after a critical vote to advance one of House Republicans’ 12 appropriations bills, specifically covering defense spending, failed to pass for the second time this week, dealing an embarrassing blow to GOP leaders.
“We should not leave town – our border is on fire & we have to get our job done,” Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
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Another GOP lawmaker told Fox News Digital, “I honestly would prefer that we stay here, pass a continuing resolution that secures the border, has the majority of the elements in H.R. 2 in it. And if they want to reject that, then I think it’s time pushed on, the American citizens will speak up.”
But others conceded that they felt it was the only option.
“We’ve got a holiday coming up on Monday. We know we have an attendance problem already,” Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., told reporters, citing several GOP absences this week. “I don’t think leadership has any other option but to basically allow them to go home and come back next week with a chance to see the finish line.”
Most of the disagreement is centered around whether to pass a stopgap funding bill extending the current year’s spending agreements, known as a continuing resolution (CR), to fund the government for 30 days while lawmakers hash out a deal on 12 appropriations bills.
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GOP proposals for a CR have included deep spending cuts for those 30 days. But there are still several conservatives who said they would not vote for a CR no matter what, arguing it would extend the previous Democratic Congress’s priorities.
With a razor-thin House majority, Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., can only afford to lose about four votes to pass anything without Democratic support.