Kevin McCarthy glowers at the camera.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) walks to the House Chamber before a vote on Capitol Hill on Saturday, September 30, 2023.

(Photo:Tom Brenner for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

'Meet the Needs of People': CBPP Pres. Parrott Tells Congress How to Avoid the Next Shutdown Showdown

"In divided government, appropriations bills must be bipartisan to pass," Sharon Parrott said, adding that the House must "shift its approach."

With a government shutdown narrowly avoided hours from the midnight Sunday deadline, Center for Budget and Policy Priorities president Sharon Parrott had advice for how lawmakers could move forward.

"With a stopgap measure in place, Congress needs to pass funding bills that meet the needs of people, communities, and the economy and eschew cuts already rejected in the debt ceiling agreement," Parrott wrote Saturday on the social media site formerly known as Twitter.

Parrott noted that the House was only able to pass a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government temporarily funded Saturday when Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) abandoned attempts to pass partisan spending bills and instead pivoted to a bipartisan, clean CR with no additional social spending cuts or right-wing policies tacked on.

"They shouldn't repeat this mistake as Congress moves to complete full-year funding bills that meet the nation's needs."

"In divided government, appropriations bills must be bipartisan to pass," Parrott continued Saturday. "That's how the Senate has crafted funding bills this year, and today's House CR vote shows it is the only path forward. But that means the House needs to shift its approach."

In an August report, David Reich of the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) observed that the House appropriations bills up until that point had been passed along partisan lines, with Republicans including steeper cuts to non-military spending than those negotiated in the debt ceiling agreement, rolling back Inflation Reduction Act funding earmarked for addressing the climate crisis and modernizing the Internal Revenue Service, and tacked on riders attacking LGBTQ+ rights, racial justice, and reproductive freedom.

"The House's sharply partisan approach is likely to make it harder to reach an agreement on final funding bills," he predicted accurately.

Now that the House has passed a temporary clean CR, Parrott urged Republicans to learn from the experience.

"It took House Republicans too long to abandon their partisan approach of deep cuts and controversial riders in a CR," Parrott said. "They shouldn't repeat this mistake as Congress moves to complete full-year funding bills that meet the nation's needs."

If they return to pushing cuts and poison pills, she warned, "that would only waste more time and risk more shutdown drama."

Whether House Republicans will heed her advice remains to be seen. As of Sunday, most of the talk within the party revolved around whether or not the far-right flank would challenge McCarthy's speakership over Saturday's compromise.

Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) toldABC News' This Week that he planned to file a motion in the coming week to remove McCarthy.

"I am relentless and I will continue pursue this objective," Gaetz said.

In response, McCarthy told Gaetz to "Bring it on" when speaking withCBS's Face the Nation.

"Let's get over with it and let's start governing," he said.

In a Sunday appearance on CNN's State of the Union, however, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez questioned the Republicans' ability to do that.

"The Republican Party right now is completely out of step with the American people," she said, observing that even self-described moderates had voted for spending bills that would cut funding for low-income schools by 80%.

"This is not a moderate party, period," she said. "There are not moderates in the Republican Party."

As a shutdown loomed, She said the party had "run around the House like a Roomba until they found a door that House Democrats opened."

Join Us: News for people demanding a better world

Common Dreams is powered by optimists who believe in the power of informed and engaged citizens to ignite and enact change to make the world a better place.

We're hundreds of thousands strong, but every single supporter makes the difference.

Your contribution supports this bold media model—free, independent, and dedicated to reporting the facts every day. Stand with us in the fight for economic equality, social justice, human rights, and a more sustainable future. As a people-powered nonprofit news outlet, we cover the issues the corporate media never will. Join with us today!

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.