House Republicans’ proposed short-term spending bill is facing internal opposition that could sink the measure and complicate the conference’s attempt to show unity in its opening offer to the Senate and White House.
The stopgap bill to avoid a shutdown, which was unveiled Sunday night, got an icy reception from the right flank of the slim House GOP majority. Enough members have said that they are against the continuing resolution (CR) plan to block it on the House floor, even though leaders hope to bring it up this week.
“A CR is a continuation of Nancy Pelosi’s budget and Joe Biden’s policies. We were assured in January that we weren’t going to use the Democrats’ gimmicks to fund government and that we would deliver the 12 appropriations bills, thereby funding government responsibly and transparently, which is why I will be voting against the CR this week,” Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
The plan to keep the government open past Sept. 30 extends funding for a month and pairs spending cuts and border crackdown measures. It was developed by leaders in the House GOP’s Main Street Caucus, a group that bills themselves as pragmatic conservatives, and the hard-line conservative House Freedom Caucus.
But despite the involvement of those leaders, many hard-line conservatives — including those in the House Freedom Caucus — remain skeptical of the plan. At least 12 GOP lawmakers have come out against the legislation or are leaning against it.
“NO,” Rep. Eli Crane (R-Ariz.) succinctly wrote on X after the proposal was rolled out.
“Pass the damn approps bills. Roll back the crazy bureaucracy to pre-COVID levels. Now,” Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) wrote on X.
Republican Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), Tim Burchett (Tenn.), Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Ralph Norman (S.C.), Anna Paulina Luna (Fla.), Ken Buck (Colo.), Victoria Spartz (Ind.), Andy Ogles (Tenn.), Bishop, Crane and Rosendale have either said they will vote against the legislation or are leaning against it.
Norman brought up the longtime request from hard-line conservatives to further cut topline spending across all 12 appropriations bills, and come up with a plan for all of them before proceeding on any additional government funding.
Asked Monday morning if he has the votes to pass the CR proposal, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters “don’t know.”
Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), one of the Freedom Caucus leaders who helped craft the agreement, praised the plan and expressed disappointment in his fellow hardline conservatives for opposing it.
“Unfortunately, some of my colleagues don’t think that’s good enough. They want to hide behind some other rhetoric. They want to hide behind, ‘Oh, we need to do more on DOJ or do more on this or that or the other,’” Roy said on the Guy Benson radio show on Monday.
“There’s no Ukraine supplemental. There’s no disaster emergency supplemental. There’s simply a strong bill that would do what we need to do to ratchet back the federal bureaucracy that’s been at odds with the American people and force their hand on the border, which is a strong national message,” Roy said. “I think that’s a win. I think that’s a place to go push to force the Democrats to have to react.”
Even if the bill gets through the House, it is highly unlikely that the Democratic-controlled Senate and White House accept the legislation as is, with steep cuts and border policies they oppose.
The bill would fund the government through Oct. 31 but cut all discretionary department spending outside of Defense and Veterans Affairs by about 8 percent. It also includes the bulk of the House GOP’s H.R. 2 border crackdown bill that President Biden said he would veto.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.), the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, ripped the proposal Sunday night, accusing House Republicans of wanting “to shut down the government.”
“Less than two weeks away from a government shutdown, House Republicans are still more focused on introducing extreme funding bills that would cut funding to the National Institutes of Health including funding for cancer research, defund the police, and decrease resources to important allies like Ukraine and Israel than working on bipartisan solution that could be enacted,” DeLauro said in a statement.
But the bill is meant to show a united front among House Republicans and be an opening offer in negotiations to keep the government open past Sept. 30 — echoing the conference’s strategy from earlier this year revolving around the debt ceiling increase. The House passed a GOP bill that paired a debt ceiling increase with policy changes before McCarthy struck a different deal with President Biden.
Hard-line conservatives, though, later expressed outrage about that deal.
The House Rules Committee is scheduled to take up the CR legislation Monday. The current plan is for the House to vote on a Pentagon appropriations bill — which GOP leaders were forced to punt last week due to hard-line conservative opposition — Wednesday, and the continuing resolution Thursday, a source on a Sunday night House GOP call confirmed to The Hill.
If every member of the House votes and all Democrats oppose the bill, the House GOP can afford to lose only four votes and pass the bill. A few GOP members, however, are expected to be absent due to personal circumstances, further complicating the math for the GOP.
But in a sign of the high-stakes nature surrounding the appropriations process, Luna — who had a baby in August and just got over a four-day-long fever and infection — said she will return to Washington to vote against the continuing resolution if needed.
“If I’m needed, I’m coming,” Luna told The Hill, adding that she “will fly to vote no because I know how important this is.”
It is possible that some or many of the initial “no’s” and “lean no’s” on the legislation change their minds as they evaluate its contents.
One conservative outside group that has allied with hard-line conservatives expressed support for the plan.
“The proposed CR represents a strong consensus between conservatives and moderates in the House Republican Conference. We support the negotiated spending cuts and urge all members of the House to get behind the CR,” FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon said in a statement. “However, we need to recognize that discretionary spending is less than a third of all federal outlays, and we need Republicans and Democrats to come together to solve the inevitable debt crisis that’s coming.”
Heritage Action, the advocacy arm of the prominent conservative think tank, also came out in support of the CR deal on Monday.
“[T]his deal achieves major policy victories while giving conservatives the best possible negotiating position for long-term spending cuts and reforms,” Heritage Action Acting Executive Director Ryan Walker said in a statement. “This House deal is a productive first step in keeping the federal budget accountable to the American people. Lawmakers must follow through on their promises to secure the border by supporting this spending agreement. Not only would this deal deliver on key border security policies, but it would also force the White House and Democrats to choose between continuing their self-inflicted crisis at the border or shutting down the government.”
Updated at 4:02 pm.