Bream Challenges Stefanik About 'Paralyzed Chaos'
The Republican Party's internal divisions are threatening to come to a head after House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik was questioned Sunday on the "paralyzed chaos" engulfing her conference and the party's low approval rating.
Fox News anchor Shannon Bream confronted Stefanik on Sunday about House Republicans' poor performance in a new Fox News poll, in which only 19 percent of respondents approved of the job congressional Republicans are doing. The poll also comes as House Republicans fumble through negotiations to fund the government for the coming fiscal year, leading to an intraparty conflict between right-wing hardliners aiming for fiscally conservative policies and more mainstream Republicans.
The balance of power between the two wings leans unevenly to the right, with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy struggling to avoid a government shutdown if a single bill fails to pass the House. Citing an Axios article describing "paralyzed chaos" in the Republican conference, Bream pressed Stefanik on the issue.
"What do you tell the American about the fact that we can't even move a defense bill to fund our troops?" Bream asked.
Stefanik, a New York Republican, responded by saying she is optimistic that House Republicans will pass appropriations bills. She also stressed that she has had "productive" conversations with her colleagues about reigning in government funds and cast doubt that a motion to vacate the speaker's chair would be filed by Representative Matt Gaetz, a member of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus.
However, reports this week suggest McCain was facing pressure from his own party, with Politico reporting Thursday that the speaker lashed out during a private meeting at the caucus, telling its members "If you think you scare me because you want to file a motion to vacate, move the f****** motion."
Leaders in both parties have expressed concern that a possible government shutdown is looming, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, saying Tuesday he hopes the situation does not get "to that pass."
Still, Stefanik expressed hope that her party can come to a compromise on the budget and avoid a shutdown.
"We are working through this, and I am optimistic that we will continue to move the appropriations process forward, and that includes the DOD [Department of Defense] appropriations bill, but also includes the continuing resolution to ensure that we do not face a government shutdown," she said.