Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s surprise decision to take a pass on becoming next House speaker sets up a “confrontational” environment, which could lead to another government shutdown fight in December, top political analysts say.
McCarthy’s surprise announcement on Wednesday “is presumably due to the conservative wing of the Republican Party’s failure to unite behind him, believing that McCarthy – Boehner’s top lieutenant – would not be sufficiently different from the current leadership,” Andy Friedman of The Washington Update told ThinkAdvisor in a Friday email.
McCarthy bowing out “suggests that the new speaker likely will be significantly more conservative and confrontational with the White House,” which doesn’t bode well “for reaching agreement on government funding” when the current appropriations run out on Dec. 11. “A shutdown might well be in the offing,” Friedman said.
Indeed, Greg Valliere, who recently left his post as chief political strategist at Potomac Research to become chief global strategist for the global investment management firm Horizon Investments, told ThinkAdvisor in a recent interview that Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen’s goal to raise interest rates in December “could be thwarted” if the government shuts down.
“I’m very apprehensive about December,” Valliere said.
In comments on the House floor Friday afternoon in a debate on adding Republican reconciliation language to the budget bill, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., ranking member of the House Budget Committee, said that it was “absolutely mind boggling that we’re here on this day in this place with this piece of legislation in front of us. We all know that we have a crisis of leadership within the Republican caucus.”