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Capitol Journal: Britt, Aderholt talk budget, leadership

Members of Alabama’s congressional delegation reacted to the chaos gripping the House of Representatives after the eleventh-hour avoidance of a government shutdown and the subsequent ouster of U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy as speaker of the House. 

McCarthy’s removal was a historic first – and something Alabama’s junior senator, Katie Britt, called a win for House Democrats and President Joe Biden’s administration in an interview on Capitol Journal.

“I am disheartened by what I’m seeing – we’ve got to get back to being a party that comes together to fight for the American people; that’s what we’re interested in, not putting our emphasis on fighting each other,” Britt said.

The last minute continuing resolution passed by McCarthy with the help of Democrat votes extended federal government funding until Nov. 17, and Britt said that the emphasis had to be on keeping the government funded beyond that date. 

Despite that, she also said that she wasn’t sure Congress would not be in the same position come the November deadline, citing how Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, has not brought any of the appropriations bills to the Senate floor for debate.

“We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us,” Britt said. “I don’t have a high level of confidence we won’t be back in the same position we found ourselves in last week.”

Britt also discussed her support support for the Prevent Government Shutdowns Act, a new bill that would automatically appropriate government funding in rolling 14-day periods. The bill would also require lawmakers to remain in Washington, D.C. until a new spending package is adopted.

Meanwhile, Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville, the dean of Alabama’s congressional delegation, said that the upcoming leadership fight over who will take McCarthy’s place as speaker is unlike any he has witnessed before.

“I’ve been involved in a lot of [leadership fights] over the years … and for someone to be removed as speaker is something that, honestly, has never happened,” Aderholt said.

Whoever becomes the new speaker will need to navigate the same pitfalls that eventually led to McCarthy’s removal, Aderholt said – balancing demands from the GOP’s hard-right and its centrist factions while navigating the inherent difficulties of the party’s slim majority. 

“I’m not sure anyone could get 218 [votes] and that’s why I think this is going to be a very arduous process going forward over the next few days, and I could see this stretching out even a week or two,” Aderholt said. 

The current front-runners for the Republican nomination for the speakership are Majority Leader Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana, and the chair of the House Judiciary Committee Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio.

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