According to several Republicans familiar with discussions, House Republicans privately acknowledge that the government shutdown may continue for at least two weeks. There is pressure to reopen the building before the military is due to receive their next paycheck in the middle of October.
“The only thing that I think will pass the House in the Senate is a clean CR without Ukraine funding on it,” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). He further added that if Democrats do not agree to this proposal, they would effectively be prioritizing the funding of Ukraine’s government over the funding of their own government.
House Republicans want to avoid a government shutdown, but they are struggling to find a compromise that can fund the government for a short period of time. Their current plan is to pass full-year appropriation bills in the next two weeks, which will not provide any short-term funding to the government. So far, they have passed 4 out of 12 of these bills.
One of the bills passed was a Defense spending bill featuring a notable amendment from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., which proposes to slash Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s salary to a mere $1. Greene expressed that even this symbolic dollar is an overpayment, reflecting her dissatisfaction with Austin’s performance. The bill secured approval with a 218-210 vote, demonstrating a partisan divide as it moved through the chamber.
Rep. Greene took to X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter, to voice her criticism of Secretary Austin, labeling him a “failure” for the military and the nation. The amendment she introduced, known as the Holman rule, is a mechanism allowing for the reduction or termination of specific federal salaries or programs through appropriations legislation, as per the House Rules Committee.
This move by Greene is unprecedented in modern history, marking a pointed critique towards Austin, who is the first Black Secretary of Defense. During a House session on Wednesday, Greene lambasted Austin for his management of military recruitment and the U.S. troop’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, accusing him of undermining the military.
The current annual salary of Secretary Austin stands over $221,000, as reported by Defense News. However, the amendment to reduce it to $1 is seen more as a political statement than a practical measure. The proposed salary cut accompanying the bill is unlikely to win Senate support, and the Pentagon seems unaffected by this legislative maneuver.
In a conversation with The New York Times, Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh emphasized that Secretary Austin remains committed to his role, focusing on equipping the U.S. military adequately to safeguard the nation.
Meanwhile, Biden derided House Republicans over the shutdown, and the Senate is now in discussion to add border security to their stopgap bill. McCarthy previously stated that he would only present the Senate’s proposal to the House floor if it included border security provisions.
Screenshot: X: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene