EXCLUSIVE: A prominent conservative group is coming out against the just-passed short-term spending bill aimed at averting a government shutdown at the end of this week, arguing Americans are “exasperated” with the level of federal spending.
“Congress has backed itself into a corner — unable to pass responsible spending bills or secure our border, and opting again for a short-term CR that fails to solve any of the problems facing our country. As usual, taxpayers will foot the bill for Washington’s recklessness,” Ryan Walker, vice president of Heritage Action, said in a statement.
“Congress has 40 more days to fight for separate funding bills that will roll back inflation-fueling spending and force the Biden administration to reverse the flow of illegal immigration. They cannot waste this time.”
In the statement, which was sent to Republican members, Walker noted that the bill passed on Thursday is the third government funding extension this Congress has passed, as a deal on fiscal year 2024 spending continues to elude negotiators.
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Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., helped Congress avoid a Friday government shutdown. (Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)
“The American people are exasperated with the Swamp’s dysfunction that puts them last,” he said. “[O]ur government has wasted opportunity after opportunity, and moved the goal posts with a third short-term CR that accomplishes very little for the people.”
The group called for government funding to adhere to “statutory caps.” It comes after the conservative House Freedom Caucus pushed for the next fiscal year’s spending levels to stay at $1.59 trillion, the cap set by ex-Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and President Biden during debt limit negotiations last spring.
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But a side deal made at the time and that is being honored now by Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., would include an additional $69 billion side deal for non-defense discretionary spending — something GOP hardliners have rebelled against.
“Conservatives have been consistent and resolute in our calls for meaningful spending cuts and serious efforts to end the lawless catastrophe at our country’s borders,” Walker said.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., struck a bipartisan deal with Johnson to keep the government open. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
“The government can and should be funded at levels that adhere to statutory caps — without the backroom side deals that will lead to an increase in spending over Pelosi-era levels. And handing billions to Biden’s border agencies without forcing changes to their policies would be unconscionable.”
The House of Representatives on Thursday voted to advance a short-term government funding extension known as a continuing resolution (CR). The bill now goes to President Biden’s desk, where he will have to sign it before the end of the day on Friday to avert a partial government shutdown.
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It passed 314 to 108 and nearly split the House GOP in half — 107 Republicans voted for its passage, while 106 opposed.
Hours before the vote, House Freedom Caucus Chair Bob Good, R-Va., met with Johnson to persuade him to add a border security amendment to the CR.
The House Freedom Caucus, led by Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., opposed the continuing resolution. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
Good told reporters Johnson was “considering it,” arguing, “The Senate will be forced to consider, are they willing to fund the government and secure the border, or they refuse to fund the government because they don’t want to secure the border.”
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But Johnson immediately put the rumors to rest. His spokesman, Raj Shah, posted on X minutes after Good spoke to reporters, “The plan has not changed. The House is voting on the stop gap measure tonight to keep the government open.”
Adding such an amendment would have almost certainly led to a showdown with congressional Democrats — and subsequently a government shutdown.