Five days out from an increasingly likely government shutdown, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is once again demonstrating a willingness—if not a downright enthusiasm—to cave to the demands of far-right members of his caucus.
The Washington Post reports on the latest from the spending negotiations, with McCarthy now embracing steep cuts to a slew of safety net programs that provide food assistance for children, veteran housing benefits, and home heating assistance. It’s an astonishing proposal that also includes a potential 80 percent cut in funding for low-income schools, as well as the slashing of funding for food assistance for poor pregnant mothers. The list represents yet another attempt to placate the very people McCarthy himself accused last week of being behind a “whole new concept of individuals that just want to burn things down.“ (As I said this weekend, the assertion is laughable; McCarthy is far more familiar with these people than he lets on.)
Will these latest concessions convince his fractured party to play ball? Who knows. Even if McCarthy succeeds in flipping the far-right, his plans are dead on arrival at the Senate and White House, proving that the top Republican is unserious about avoiding a shutdown. But regardless of how negotiations shake out, it’s McCarthy’s eagerness to screw over some of the most vulnerable people in society that shouldn’t be forgotten. For all the talk of a new GOP, Republicans are pushing for the same thing as usual: cutting programs that help poor people.