Chaos and acrimony as House Republicans pull bill to keep government running: ‘multiple games afoot’

An expected procedural vote to advance the stopgap spending bill put together by House Freedom Caucus and Main Street Caucus negotiators was pulled from the schedule on Tuesday, multiple sources told Fox News Digital, as a Sept. 30 deadline to maintain government funding nears by the day. 

The fight over how and if to avoid a government shutdown has fractured the House GOP majority, with dueling proposals popping up amid a wave of conservative backlash. 

Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., one of the lead negotiators for House Republicans’ current stopgap spending proposal, lashed out at moderate members who are warming up to the idea of working with Democrats to avoid a government shutdown. 

Disagreements over what kind of a stopgap spending bill, known as a continuing resolution (CR), to pass – or even if one should be passed in the first place – have brought new fractures out of the already divided House GOP majority,

“A lot of my colleagues, Freedom Caucus members, etc., need to be very concerned about the fact that we do have some Republican members who are willing to sign on to a clean [continuing resolution] with the Democrats, and basically eliminates out leverage to do anything,” Donalds told reporters after a closed-door House GOP conference meeting on Tuesday.

“I don’t take that lightly. There’s multiple games afoot in this town.”


Donalds led House Freedom Caucus negotiators to a deal with the more pragmatic Main Street Caucus on Sunday night. Their proposal would fund the government for a month with an 8% cut. It also attaches the House GOP’s border security bill minus an e-Verify provision. 

But within a day of the news trickling out, more than a dozen House GOP hardliners said they would not support a CR. If no action is taken to fund the government by Sept. 30, it’s likely to fall into a partial shutdown.

That’s frustrated moderates who largely were willing to vote for the CR to avoid a shutdown.


Rep. Nick LaLota, R-N.Y., a member of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, told Fox News Digital that the group was working on its own spending plan and that he would work with Democrats if needed.

“I’m on the Problem Solvers Caucus and there is a deal Problem Solvers are cooking up. If Republicans can’t do it, yes, I would join a deal with Democrats to keep the government funded and to also address the border,” LaLota said. 

But he disputed Donalds, explaining the plan was not the “clean” CR that Donalds claimed. A clean CR is near-universally opposed by House Republicans because it would be an extension of the previous Democrat-controlled Congress’ priorities.

“It has conditions with respect to the border, specifically, and that’s what we’re discussing right now in Problem Solvers,” LaLota said. 

Rep. Mike Lawler, R-N.Y., said on Tuesday morning, “I won’t be party to a shutdown.”

Asked if he would work with Democrats on a deal, he told Fox News Digital, “We have a divided government. So there’s always going to be need to be a compromise between Republicans and Democrats on anything. I’ve never had a problem working with anybody.”


Donalds, when asked if he would support a deal the Problem Solvers Caucus for something other than a “clean” CR, said, “I will never vote for a clean CR. N-E-V-E-R. Ain’t gonna happen. You can book that. However, I’d be willing to see what people propose. I will read it, but I will be highly skeptical.”

And conservative allies of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy still appear wary to move away from the current agreement – despite GOP leaders not having a hand in crafting the deal.

Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., asked about the Problem Solvers Caucus’ burgeoning plan, said, “This, I support what the six [negotiators] have put together, because it reduces spending and secures the border. If you’re a conservative, and you vote against that, then you’re really not a conservative.”

A procedural vote to advance the current CR proposal is expected later on Tuesday after it narrowly passed committee on Monday night. But it’s not clear it has the votes to pass. 

LaLota told Fox News Digital that there appeared to still be eight to 10 holdouts in the morning closed-door GOP conference meeting. McCarthy can only lose a handful of Republicans to pass anything without Democratic support.

Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., who sits on the Rules Committee, told reporters that he had voted to advance the CR by accident on Monday night. “To be honest with you, I was asleep at the switch,” he said, adding that he believed he was voting for a different bill.

Rep. Kevin Hern, R-Okla., chair of the 175-member Republican Study Committee, said on Tuesday, “We don’t have the votes now, something is going to have to change.”