Republicans vs Republicans, the Widening Division: The Kiplinger Letter

Republicans in the House and the Senate meltdown as a widening division grows over spending cuts and other measures, including the Biden impeachment.

To help you understand the build-up of tensions between House and Senate Republicans and other political concerns from the hill, our highly experienced Kiplinger Letter team will keep you abreast of the latest developments and forecasts (Get a free issue of The Kiplinger Letter or subscribe). You'll get all the latest news first by subscribing, but we will publish many (but not all) of the forecasts a few days afterward online. Here’s the latest… 

Another factor increasing the odds of a government shutdown this fall is the split between House and Senate Republicans, as exemplified by the widening divisions between the party leaders of both chambers.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is barely maintaining control over his fractious caucus, even as he pushes for tougher spending cuts and other measures to appease his party’s most conservative lawmakers. What’s true for McCarthy is the opposite for Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the top Senate Republican. The Senate GOP remains united around McConnell, despite recent health scares that briefly aroused public skepticism. 

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McConnell has also maintained support for higher government spending than McCarthy, as well as emergency legislation including more military aid for Ukraine.

The pair are even divided on the question of impeaching President Biden, with McConnell not willing to endorse McCarthy’s impeachment push, for now...

Don’t expect any public blowups, with McCarthy and McConnell working to resolve their differences behind the scenes. Everything from an agreement to fund the government to McCarthy’s speakership hangs in the balance.

To that end, some takeaways from the House’s third impeachment inquiry in four years. Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is taking a risky move that could backfire on the party politically. The House GOP’s far-right wing has pushed for impeachment, but House moderates fear the inquiry will hurt them with voters in next year’s election.

McCarthy points to allegations of abuse of power, obstruction and corruption by President Joe Biden related to foreign business dealings of his son, Hunter Biden. The White House cites a lack of evidence, even after months of investigations. 

It’s not certain that the inquiry will leave the House and move to the Senate for a trial, as McCarthy first must convince moderate GOPers to go along — which is not a given. But the lengthy, ramped-up House probes could damage Biden politically. Barring a bombshell revelation, the Senate isn’t going to convict Biden.

This forecast first appeared in The Kiplinger Letter, which has been running since 1923 and is a collection of concise weekly forecasts on business and economic trends, as well as what to expect from Washington, to help you understand what’s coming up to make the most of your investments and your money. Subscribe to The Kiplinger Letter. 

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Sean Lengell
Associate Editor, The Kiplinger Letter

Sean Lengell covers Congress and government policy for The Kiplinger Letter. Before joining Kiplinger in January 2017 he served as a congressional reporter for eight years with the Washington Examiner and the Washington Times. He previously covered local news for the Tampa (Fla.) Tribune. A native of northern Illinois who spent much of his youth in St. Petersburg, Fla., he holds a bachelor's degree in English from Marquette University.