Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Thursday accused Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) of going “back on his word” by abandoning the funding levels he agreed to when he and President Biden struck a deal to raise the debt limit.
“Remember, bipartisan majorities agreed to funding levels back in June. The leaders of the House, the Senate, the White House, we all shook hands on this deal, but now the Speaker, and only the Speaker, is going back on his word,” Schumer said on the Senate floor.
As a result, Schumer argued, “Speaker McCarthy has made a shutdown far more likely.”
“Despite the fact that here in the Senate we’re pursuing bipartisanship, the Speaker has chosen to elevate the whims and desires of a handful of hard-right extremists and has nothing to show for it,” Schumer said.
Biden and McCarthy agreed in May to set the nondefense and defense discretionary spending cap at $1.59 trillion, but the Speaker is preparing to move a House GOP-drafted continuing resolution that would be more in line with the $1.47 trillion spending top line demanded by members of the House Freedom Caucus.
McCarthy has been forced to delay consideration of a short-term House Republican-drafted proposal to extend government funding beyond Sept. 30, and two earlier attempts to pass a defense appropriations bill were foiled by House conservatives who demanded steep cuts to federal spending.
The Speaker made some progress earlier this week when the House narrowly approved a rule to set up votes on four appropriations bills funding the departments of Defense, State, Agriculture and Homeland Security.
Schumer criticized McCarthy and the House Republican leadership for stripping money for Ukraine out of the House Defense appropriations bill even though a majority of House lawmakers favor providing more money for Ukraine.
“We saw glaring examples last night, on the floor of the House, the House voted twice, with overwhelming bipartisan majorities, to keep Ukraine funding in the House Defense appropriations bill. Each time, with over 330 votes, a majority of both Democratic and Republican members. And yet, after the vote, the House leader … subverted the will of the House by going to the Rules Committee and cut the aid to Ukraine anyway,” Schumer said.
He was referring to two amendments that failed on the House floor Wednesday, one that would have stripped $300 million in money for Ukraine from the Defense spending bill and another that would have blocked additional funding for Ukraine.
The Rules Committee, however, convened an emergency meeting to take Ukraine funding out of the Defense bill, despite the failure of the amendments.
“Speaker McCarthy is letting a small band of very extreme members override the views of everyone else,” Schumer said. “If we’re forced to abandon Ukraine by a handful of extreme people who seem to have no sense of the reality of the world, we will pay a price for years to come.”