Pressure mounts on McCarthy ahead of shutdown deadline as Democratic Rep. Boyle blames 'infighting'

Key Points
  • House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., needs to unite his caucus to pass a spending bill before the government hits Saturday's shutdown deadline.
  • Rep. Brendan Boyle, ranking member of the House Budget Committee, said "intra-Republican fighting" would be partly to blame if there is a shutdown.
  • The House reconvenes Tuesday to continue budget negotiations.
Fmr. Sen. Heitkamp on government shutdown: We can't let these minority players have this much power
Fmr. Sen. Heitkamp on government shutdown: We can't let these minority players have this much power

WASHINGTON — Bipartisan lawmakers on Monday weighed in on a possible government shutdown, as pressure builds on House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to get something passed with less than a week before the deadline.

The House speaker "has been able to deliver in a very razor-thin majority, so don't count him out," Rep. Jason Smith, R-Missouri, who chairs the House Committee on Ways and Means, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Monday.

McCarthy, R-Calif., is in a bind and can't afford to lose more than four Republican votes on a spending bill. With Republican votes at a premium, the House Freedom Caucus, which boasted 49 members in January, has stalled budget negotiations by adopting a hard stance on domestic spending cuts. McCarthy could seek help from Democrats to secure votes to avoid a shutdown but that would put his speakership at risk.

Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., said Sunday that he might back ousting the House speaker if such a compromise is reached.

"The reality is this intra-Republican fighting and the dysfunction in their caucus is what will, in the end, bring about this shutdown, if it comes about," Rep. Brendan Boyle, D-Pa., ranking member of the House Budget Committee, said on "Squawk Box" on Monday.

The House will reconvene Tuesday to continue budget negotiations after recessing last week without passing a basic rules measure to debate a Pentagon funding bill.

"Clearly it's a Kevin McCarthy problem," Heidi Heitkamp, a former Democratic senator from North Dakota, told "Squawk Box" on Monday about moving bills through the House.

"We've got a system in Washington where the very, very elite minority who only get attention during these time periods can throw a cog into the wheel and stop government," Heitkamp added.

Failing to pass a spending bill by Saturday will affect nonessential government functions, such as pay for federal government employees and Social Security benefit verification. But it is not the crisis that many think it is, said Mick Mulvaney, former White House chief of staff under then-President Donald Trump.

"People will get paid at the end of this," Mulvaney told "Squawk Box." "Everything is going to be fine. It's not a crisis. It's just not the best way to reduce spending."