WASHINGTON — Facing fresh challenges to his leadership, Speaker Kevin McCarthy is trying to accomplish what at times seems impossible — working furiously to convince House Republicans to come together and pass a conservative bill to keep the federal government open.
It's a nearly futile exercise that could help McCarthy keep his job, but has little chance of actually preventing a federal shutdown. Whatever House Republicans come up with is nearly certain to be rejected by the Senate, where Democrats and most Republicans want to fund the government.
In one dramatic sign of defeat Tuesday, House Republicans were even voting against their own defense bill. During a rowdy afternoon vote, the usually popular bill was turned back from consideration, 212-214, after five hard-right conservatives helped sink it. They want to see an overall plan from McCarthy.