House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer floated a possible end-run Thursday night to avert a government shutdown: go around House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Hoyer suggested another path for Democrats to pass a short-term spending bill to prevent the government from shutting down on Dec. 11: pass a measure in the House with a combination of Democratic and Republican votes and send it directly to the Senate. If the measure is passed there, McCarthy won’t have the opportunity to add any amendments — like potential wall funding — that Democrats could not accept.
“If [Senate Majority] Leader [Mitch] McConnell is not agreeable to the inclusion of some rider that’s actually going to create conflict between the House and the Senate,” then perhaps McCarthy can be bypassed, Hoyer said in an interview with CNN.
The strategy would likely require a large number of moderate Republicans — who typically pass House bills with mostly Democratic support — to stand up to McCarthy’s hardline stance that no bill should pass unless it includes wall funding. But Hoyer thinks those members exist.
“I think there are Republicans in the House who understand the implications of shutting down the government,” he said. “It’s foolish, it’s irresponsible.”