House conservatives are wary after Speaker Kevin McCarthy suggested Congress could pass a short-term extension of last year’s spending priorities to give lawmakers more time to cobble together a deal for fiscal 2024.
One GOP lawmaker told Fox News Digital McCarthy said on a Monday night conference-wide call, “We’ve got 11 days, legislative days left before Sept. 30 when the current budget or current … spending bills expire, so we’re obviously going to need a [continuing resolution].”
“He wants to do a short-term CR, but not one that jams the holidays,” the lawmaker said.
Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, policy chair of the hard line-right House Freedom Caucus, emphatically criticized the proposal after the House GOP call.
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“Under no circumstances will I support a ‘continuing resolution’ to fund the government at the bloated, corrupt 2023 levels…This is especially true if it were to stupidly expire in December,” Roy said on social media after the call.
“I might – might – support a short series of 24 hour ‘CR’s’ to create maximum pain for Congress to do its damned job, which – by the way – we could be doing in Washington right now.”
House Republican leaders were forced to call off a planned vote on an agriculture spending bill after divisions within the party led to doubts about the vote count. At left is Speaker Kevin McCarthy. At right is House Freedom Caucus Policy Chair Chip Roy. (Getty Images )
A continuing resolution would extend current spending priorities, set under the Democratic-controlled 117th Congress, for a certain amount of time. Congress failing to pass any kind of spending agreement by Sept. 30 risks sending the government into a partial shutdown.
A source familiar with Monday night’s call told Fox News Digital McCarthy believes just a short one before the year’s end would give Republicans the time they need to put together 12 appropriations bills rather than jamming all of their priorities into one “omnibus” bill, something McCarthy has pledged not do.
But Freedom Caucus member Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., signaled he would not support a short-term continuing resolution on its own without attaching it to House GOP priorities — namely, energy or border security overhaul bills.
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“We ought to utilize that [CR] to try to leverage something like HR 2, our border security bill, or HR 1, our energy bill … to be accepted by this administration to reverse some of the terribly harmful policies that have been inflicted upon the American people in the Biden regime,” Good told Fox News Digital.
Asked if he would support a stopgap bill without such riders, he said, “I’m not certain that I would at this point.”
Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., speaks at a news conference on the progress of fiscal year appropriation egislation outside the U.S. Capitol July 25, 2023, in Washington, D.C. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Texas, a conservative ally of former President Trump, similarly suggested he would only support the proposal if it also defunded the Justice Department.
“I WILL NOT vote for any continuing resolution that doesn’t smash Biden’s DOJ into a million pieces. The DOJ has very rapidly become the enemy of the American people, and if nothing is done soon, our rights will be GONE. We MUST defund it,” Jackson wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
A GOP lawmaker who spoke with Fox News Digital anonymously to discuss lawmakers’ call, said McCarthy warned that the alternative was to allow for a longer continuing resolution but with an across-the-board 1% reduction in spending.
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Another source familiar with the call also said McCarthy stressed that a long-term CR would effectively be an extension of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s left-wing policies, something virtually all House Republicans are against. The source emphasized that the majority of members on the call were on the same page about that.
And not all conservatives are opposed to the idea. Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., another member of the Freedom Caucus, told Fox News Digital he believes a short-term CR ending before the holidays would be “appropriate in this situation,” though he was doubtful McCarthy could keep his promise on the 12 individual spending bills.
U.S. Congressman Ken Buck, R-Colo, before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on “oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation” and alleged politicization of law enforcement on Capitol Hill July 12, 2023. (Shuran Huang for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
“We are struggling as a conference to come together on spending priorities, and it’s clear that we’re going to need a CR to be able to negotiate and conference committees with the Democrats,” Buck said. “The Democrats have not passed a single appropriations bill. We’ve passed one, and there just isn’t enough time to get all 12 appropriations bills passed and negotiate with the Senate on the rest of the bills.
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“While I think that we will pass some, maybe even a majority, I don’t think we’ll pass all the appropriations bills. Some of them are just gonna have to be put into a mini-omnibus and passed that way.”
McCarthy can only afford to lose five votes to pass a bill along party lines, but a CR would likely pass with both Republican and Democratic votes, though the chances are significantly slimmer if it includes any of conservatives’ wish list policy items.