House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries claimed Republicans were in “civil war” over the party’s failure to agree on spending bills to fund government operations – and avert an Oct. 1 shutdown.
Jeffries (D-NY) blamed Republican infighting as the main reason for the shutdown of large parts of the government – and noted that far-right Republicans had threatened to force House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) from leadership if he doesn’t comply with her demands.
“Let’s be clear: House Republicans are in the middle of a civil war.” Jeffries told ABC News’ “This Week.” on Sunday.
“The Republican civil war in the House of Representatives is hurting hardworking American taxpayers and limiting our ability to solve problems on their behalf,” he added.
“It’s unfortunate, but as Democrats in the House, we will continue to try to find common ground with the other side of the aisle to work with Senate Democrats and Republicans and President Biden.”
Jeffries appears to be grappling with the infighting sparked by the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus, whose members have vowed to reject any stopgap measure to avoid a shutdown unless they see further spending cuts.
The top Democrat claimed cracks in the Republican Party were also evident in McCarthy’s push to launch an impeachment inquiry against Biden, although he had previously claimed he would not do so without a full vote by the chamber.
Before the about-face, some ultra-conservative House members had threatened a shutdown if an impeachment inquiry wasn’t launched.
“There are no facts to suggest that President Biden broke the law in any way, shape or form. “This is an unlawful impeachment inquiry,” Jeffries told ABC. “It’s a product of the Republican civil war in the House.”
Appearing later on the show, Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) disputed the characterization and criticized Jeffries for using the term “civil war.”
“Using the word ‘civil’ over and over again in an interview, the phrase ‘civil war’ — if that were a Republican, there would be outrage on the left,” she said.
Mace also insisted that Republicans must keep their promises to the Freedom Caucus, which previously gave in to his demands in May for more budget cuts to help raise the debt ceiling.
McCarthy told reporters on Sunday that there had been progress in implementing the 12 appropriations bills to fund the government, with the House speaker optimistic the vote would take place before the looming deadline.
The next fiscal year begins October 1, and without consensus the government would shut down.