U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) speaks to reporters after arriving at the US Capitol in Washington, D.C. on May 23, 2023.

U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) speaks to reporters after arriving at the US Capitol in Washington, D.C. on May 23, 2023. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds, AFP via Getty Images/TNS)

(Tribune News Service) — Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he wants to avoid a U.S. government shutdown because it would undermine his party’s leverage in negotiations over spending cuts sought by Republicans.

“I want to make sure we don’t shut down,” McCarthy said on Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures. “I don’t think that is a win for the American public and I definitely believe it’ll make our hand weaker if we shut down.”

With the federal government rapidly approaching its Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year, the Republican leader cited signs of progress on getting spending bills through the House. He didn’t provide specifics.

Some House Republicans last week said they are convinced Congress won’t be avert a partial shutdown of many agencies or even reach a deal to temporarily extend government funding.

McCarthy’s insistence on averting a shutdown has put him in a clash with House GOP conservatives who are calling for spending cuts, border security measures and other demands that Democrats have said they oppose. “I’ve never seen anyone win a shutdown,” he said Sunday.

In the intra-party maneuvering to lock in a House version of a federal spending plan, McCarthy said he expects to bring the defense funding bill to the floor this week, “win or lose.” Last week, McCarthy was forced to pull a Pentagon spending bill from the House floor for lack of support in his party.

He also said “I believe we’ll get agreement this week” on a spending bills. McCarthy meant an agreement among House Republicans, a person familiar with the matter said.

Earlier on Fox Business, Representative Scott Perry of Pennsylvania said that he and other conservatives won’t simply go along — even for a short-term stopgap plan to keep agencies operating, with a continuation of existing spending.

Some “haircut” to current spending levels, and some addressing of border security, will have to be contained in such a bill, said Perry, who chairs the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus.

McCarthy on Sunday also defended his directive for a formal impeachment inquiry of President Joe Biden to be commenced by three House committees. Targets include foreign business dealings of Biden’s son, Hunter, other family members and the family members’ business associates.

Hunter Biden will be subpoenaed by House Republicans, but that wouldn’t happen until more documents and other investigation is completed, McCarthy said.

With assistance from Erik Wasson.

©2023 Bloomberg News.

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