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GOP budget conservatives show strength in fight against spending

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A group of Republicans in the House and Senate is pressuring GOP leaders to reject a massive year-end government funding bill and resume negotiations in January, when the party will have leverage increased to reduce what they call “unfettered” federal spending.

It’s a strategy that sets up a partisan fiscal showdown in the new year, when House Republicans claw back a majority. It also raises the possibility that the government will be strapped for cash if lawmakers fail to reach an agreement in the newly divided Congress.

“There’s no reason for us to go down this road,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat of New York, said Monday. He warned that failure to pass a comprehensive fiscal year 2023 spending bill would result in budget shortfalls, including a $10 billion shortfall in the Veterans Administration.

“The brave Americans who have served our country in uniform should never have to suffer the consequences of a lack of government funding,” Schumer said. “But unfortunately that’s the risk they face right now if we don’t finish the job.”

But many GOP lawmakers are in no mood to negotiate with Democrats in a post-election “lame duck” Congress, even if it means a spending showdown in January.

A group of fiscally conservative House and Senate lawmakers said waiting until January to complete the fiscal year 2023 funding bill would give the GOP a chance to rein in government spending that has skyrocketed since the start. of the pandemic.

Among those calling for a delay are members of the House Freedom Caucus, who are among the most fiscally conservative lawmakers in Congress. The group warned months ago that Democrats would “explode their spending” during the lame duck session.

“We need a short-term funding bill that empowers the House GOP to fix what Biden broke,” said Rep. Chip Roy, a Republican from Texas.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, who is struggling to muster enough votes in his right flank to become president in January, said he approves of bringing the spending bill to the new Congress.

Waiting until January would give Republicans leverage beyond spending levels if they insist on including other high-profile policy initiatives, including border security and energy measures that Democrats have resisted, and language to revoke funding for the tens of thousands of new IRS agents funded by President Biden’s green power and tax bill.

“It would be unprecedented for a time when the House would change hands, for us to pass a lame spending bill, so we shouldn’t be doing this,” said Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin and tax hawk. , to the Washington Times. “I will fully support any efforts by the Senate to pass a bill that will get us into the next Congress so that the House can hopefully pass and pass a much more fiscally responsible spending measure for the rest of the fiscal year. 2023.”

Mr Johnson is among half a dozen Republicans who have written to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, opposing reaching a deal with Democrats on a spending bill during lame session.

“The American people sent an unequivocal message in the November midterm elections, making it clear that they wanted a Republican-led House to serve as a check on the unfettered spending of the current government-controlled Congress. Democrats,” the group wrote to McConnell.

For the Senate to ram through a so-called “omnibus” bill – which would fund the entire [Democratic] spending program for most of next year – would completely disenfranchise the new Republican House from implementing our shared priorities.

Democrats and Republicans are still trying to reach a year-end agreement on major spending numbers for fiscal year 2023.

The two sides have agreed on $858 billion in defense funding, but fail to reach an agreement on domestic spending and foreign aid.

Republicans oppose Democratic efforts to increase non-military spending to $813 billion, about $26 billion more than the Biden administration’s request for fiscal year 2023.

Negotiations continued over the weekend. But as of Monday, there was no deal.

McConnell has warned Democrats they won’t get a deal unless they eliminate what Republican lawmakers say is lavish and excessive spending.

The measure would need the support of at least ten Republicans to pass the Senate.

“The commander-in-chief’s own party has no right to demand a pile of unrelated freebies in exchange for doing his job and funding our armed forces,” McConnell said Monday. “If fellow House and Senate Democrats can come to terms with these realities in the very near future, we may still have a chance to prepare a full-year funding bill that will give our military commanders the certainty they have need to invest, plan and stay competitive with rivals like China. If our fellow Democrats cannot come to terms with these realities, the option will be a short-term partisan funding bill through early next year.

On Monday, Mr. Schumer announced that the Senate would vote on another interim spending measure to maintain government funding for an additional week while lawmakers continue to negotiate.

If no deal is reached and negotiations are pushed back to January, the GOP-led House would face off with the Democratic majority in the Senate on a final spending deal, raising the risk of a stalemate and the possibility of a partial shutdown. politically unpopular government.

Polls often show the public blaming Republicans for spending shutdowns, but conservative groups say the GOP has no choice. The party campaigned on a pledge to use its majority to advance key policy goals in a divided government, including border security and household power generation, adding them to spending bills.

“What’s the only leverage Republicans are going to have in the next Congress?” said Cesar Ybarra, vice president of policy at Freedomworks, which advocates for cuts in federal spending. “Republicans are going to use the power of the stock market.”



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