The New Dynamics: Democrats Will Support Kevin McCarthy – And He Will Support Ukraine
Author: Greg Valliere
October 2, 2023
WE GET A BREAK FROM THE SHUTDOWN SPECULATION — the next deadline is Nov. 17 — but there’s one issue that cannot wait: military aid to Ukraine, which has lost support in recent weeks. Washington is sending ambiguous signals to Kyiv and Moscow.
THE GREAT FEAR in Ukraine has been that the West — especially the U.S. — would lose its resolve as the war drags on through the winter and into next spring. The budget deal on Saturday contained nothing for Ukraine, which sent shock waves throughout Europe.
BUT WE’RE HEARING THAT ODDS ARE STILL GOOD for another aid package for Ukraine, probably in a separate bill in the next few weeks. It has strong support in the Senate and decent support in the House — including Kevin McCarthy’s backing — although the $20 billion that President Biden wants probably will get a haircut.
THE DRAMATIC VOTE ON SATURDAY confirmed what we suspected for weeks: McCarthy had only one path to survival — align with Democrats, who gave him the votes to keep the government open. He may need their support again, as votes on keeping as Speaker begin this week.
IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO OVER-STATE the degree of antipathy on Capitol Hill toward Rep. Matt Gaetz, the camera-loving egomaniac who has made the government shutdown all about him. In January, McCarthy gave up too much power to become speaker — he agreed that even one petition to dismiss him would get a floor vote, and that was enough incitement for Gaetz.
SO THE DEMOCRATS NOW FACE upcoming votes on whether to keep supporting McCarthy, and they’re very uneasy about this since he reneged on the debt ceiling deal, and favors an impeachment probe against Joe Biden. Lots of Democrats are asking this morning — why should we support McCarthy? They undoubtedly will demand more generous spending and will take their cues from the new power player — House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries.
FOR THE FINANCIAL MARKETS, the budget deal eliminates a potentially major economic head-wind, and the threat of a shutdown just before the U.S. Thanksgiving is unlikely. There’s no stomach on Capitol Hill for more brinksmanship. A deal will include approval of individual appropriations bills, more funding for U.S. border security, and at least $10 billion for Ukraine.
WHAT CHANGED? It was inevitable that there would be a deal between the Democrats and McCarthy; it was simply a question of when. It may cost the House Speaker his job, but the bigger story is that the tiny faction of House far-right radicals have over-played their hands. They may oust McCarthy, but he has one very important attribute: no logical successor.
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