Can Kevin McCarthy rally Republicans to avoid a government shutdown? He's about to face his most difficult challenge yet.

Since his historic pursuit of the speaker's gavel, which lasted 15 votes, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., 

has steered a razor-thin five-seat Republican majority through difficult votes and managed to keep his conference together – at least publicly. 

McCarthy has managed to unite hard-right conservatives and more moderate Republican lawmakers in the House GOP conference on a number of must-pass

bills, including the annual defense policy bill, the National Defense Authorization Act. 

McCarthy has also demonstrated his ability to coerce Democrats into submission. Despite congressional Democrats and President Joe Biden's insistence that the debt

ceiling should have been raised earlier in the summer without adding new policy priorities, McCarthy eventually struck a deal with Biden to raise

the debt ceiling in exchange for coveted conservative spending cuts - even though Biden said he would never entertain such negotiations. 

"Keep underestimating us, and we'll keep proving to the American people that we're never going to give up on you," McCarthy told reporters after the House ratified the debt-ceiling agreement. 

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