House GOP leadership yanked a vote to advance a short-term spending deal Tuesday in a sign of the dwindling chances of the federal government avoids a shutdown by September 30.
The deal, brokered between the right-wing Freedom Caucus and the pragmatic conservative Main Street Caucus, would have held Defense and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding at 2023 levels and triggered an eight percent cut to all other agencies.
It would also institute the provisions of House Republicans’ border bill, H.R. 2, aside from E-Verify. The bill leaves out funding for Ukraine and disaster relief.
The short-term continuing resolution (CR) would have punted the funding deadline to October 30, giving Congress an extra month to pass appropriations bills and fund the government for fiscal year 2024.
But still it triggered opposition from over a dozen Republicans, largely from within the Freedom Caucus, as those who worked on the deal demanded to know what exactly it is that they want.
House GOP leadership yanked a vote to advance a short-term spending deal Tuesday in a sign of the dwindling chances of the federal government avoids a shutdown by September 30
McCarthy in a closed-door meeting demanded those who opposed the deal march up to Majority Whip Tom Emmer’s office and explain what they were opposed to.
A number of those opposed were seen walking into the whip’s office after the meeting to lay out their gripes.
Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, a Freedom Caucus member who helped author the deal, sounded off about the opposition: ‘I find it extremely difficult to explain or defend opposition to an eight percent cut over 30 days in exchange for the most conservative and strong border security measure we’ve ever passed out of this body.’
At other times, Roy has found himself on the same side as the deal opposers, most of whom have actively opposed Speaker McCarthy and his legislative priorities in the past.
He said there are some who are trying to ‘advance themselves’ in saying the deal is ‘malpractice,’ but ‘the true malpractice is to head into a shutdown without a coordinated and concerted message [from] the entire Republican conference.’
Failure to get conservatives on board with a spending bill leaves the door open to a motion to vacate – which GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz has threatened to bring forward to oust McCarthy repeatedly.
If McCarthy can’t get Republicans on board with a spending deal, he may have to put forward one that Democrats could vote for, a move sure to draw the ire of
Some of those who oppose the deal say the House must stick to its original plan and pass 12 separate appropriations bills to fund each agency individually. That way members could vote for one and not the other rather than having to vote up-or-down whether the government gets funded.
But with less than 12 days until the end of the fiscal year this feat would be nearly impossible, especially since the Senate would also have to approve 12 bills and reconcile them with the House proposals.
The House is teeing up a vote on the defense spending bill for Tuesday that was tabled last week amid conservative opposition. Despite conservative policy riders that will turn away Democratic votes, some right-wing members voted against it in protest – arguing they wanted to see the top line costs of all 12 appropriations bills before voting for one.
Others, like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., claim the bill includes funding for Ukraine and funds special counsel Jack Smith’s investigations into Donald Trump.
‘That’s just petty, petty internal politics,’ GOP Rep. Byron Donalds, Fla., lead author on the deal, told DailyMail.com. ‘We’re cutting the Department of Justice eight percent in our legislation – who thinks it’s better to just shut down?’
‘Shutdowns do not shut down special counsels,’ he went on. ‘There’s a history now where the special counsels that are in operation continue their work, no matter how stupid and disastrous it is. During a shutdown they continue that work, because the DOJ considers them essential services.’
Rep. Chip Roy , R-Texas, a Freedom Caucus member who helped author the deal, sounded off about the opposition: ‘I find it extremely difficult to explain or defend opposition to an eight percent cut over 30 days in exchange for the most conservative and strong border security measure we’ve ever passed out of this body’
McCarthy also warned about the impacts a shutdown would cause while denying members in his conference wanted that outcome.
‘Nobody wants a shutdown,’ he told reporters. ‘That stuff’s not true. Think for one moment what a shutdown does – it stops paying our troops. How do you have more leverage in that situation?’
He’s previously warned the right flank that a shutdown would also impede the impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.
Even if the CR deal were to pass the House, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has vowed the bill will fail in the Senate, calling it an ‘insult’ to Ukraine on the week President Volodymyr Zelensky is planning a visit to the Capitol.
Ukraine is another point of internal strife within the GOP.
As U.S. aid to Ukraine tops $100 billion, a swelling cadre of House Republicans have grown tired of doling out cash for the Eastern European nation’s war with Russia – while senators largely stress the importance of funding the war efforts.
Asked if he would commit to a supplemental bill to aid Ukraine while meeting the Ukrainian president this week, McCarthy said: ‘Is Zelensky elected to Congress? Is he our president? I have questions for him. Where is the accountability for the money we’ve already spent?’
The White House has asked Congress to authorize an additional $24 billion for Ukraine. A letter the White House Office of Management and Budget director Shalanda Young sent to Senator J.D. Vance, R-Ohio and a number of other Republicans included a spread sheet of the over $100 billion the U.S. has sent to Ukraine.
Ukrainian-born Rep. Victoria Spartz, R-Ind., said she appreciated the need for oversight of Ukraine aid but cautioned her colleagues against falling victim to Russian propaganda.
‘Don’t underestimate Russian propaganda. Russians are very good at it,’ she told reporters. ‘They try to destabilize. You saw that within our elections.
‘They spend an enormous amount of time and money to …. to be able to get people agitated.’
The congresswoman tore into McCarthy as a ‘weak’ leader on Monday, and on Tuesday signaled she respects democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders more than she does the Republican leader.
‘Don’t say to people that “I’m going to be fighting for you” and “I’m going to do this and that.” You know what, just say we don’t have the backbone. We’re afraid to challenge the big machine.’
On Monday she had demanded a formal commission to investigate cutting spending.
‘When Bernie Sanders says “I am a socialist,” you know what? At least he’s honest about that.’