House Freedom Caucus wants policy wins, not stop-gap deals to avert a federal shutdown

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s plan for a stop-gap spending bill to avoid a government shutdown next month immediately hit opposition from Republican lawmakers who want policy wins, not go-along-to-get-along deals.

House Freedom Caucus members are sticking with their demands for rolling back federal spending to pre-pandemic levels and want action on other conservative policy goals.

Several Freedom Caucus members said they are not content with putting these fights on hold until next year.

“We cannot kick the can down the road until Christmas to pass our spending bills,” Rep. Alex X. Mooney, a West Virginia Republican running for Senate in 2024, told the Washington Times. “My constituents expect me to use the power of the purse to defend their rights and freedoms from the out-of-control executive branch.”

Rep. Chip Roy of Texas flat-out rejected Mr. McCarthy’s plan for a bill that would keep funding the government at current levels through December at the levels set last year under House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“It is a nonstarter,” Mr. Roy said on a Texas radio show. “I will use every tool I have at my disposal to stop a continuing resolution structured that way.”

A continuing resolution is Washington speak for a bill that keeps the money flowing past Sept. 30, when the fiscal year ends and the appropriated funding runs out. It gives Congress time to work on a full-year spending bill.

Failing to fund the government passed Sept. 30 would result in a partial shutdown. The most crucial government services would continue. Non-essential federal workers would be furloughed, though these workers have been repaid wages in past shutdowns.

Mr. Roy said he would “fight any effort” to fund the government that does not improve security at the U.S.-Mexico border and overhauls the Justice and Defense departments.

The 40-member House Freedom Caucus has enough votes to sink Mr. McCarthy’s stop-gap bill if House Democrats don’t make up the difference in the narrowly divided chamber.

Neither the Republican-run House has passed one of the 12 annual spending bills and the Democrat-run Senate hasn’t passed any. When the House returns from the summer recess, lawmakers will have only a dozen workdays scheduled before the Sept. 30 shutdown deadline.

Mr. McCarthy broached a stop-gap spending measure with members on a private conference call on Aug. 14. The plan has the support of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, New York Democrat.

Another Freedom Caucus member, Rep. Ronny Jackson of Texas, said he would not vote for a stop-gap bill that “does not 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!!,” Mr. Jackson said on X, formerly Twitter. 

Both Mr. Roy and Mr. Jackson also threatened to prevent funding for the Department of Homeland Security.

In a letter to their colleagues, they vowed to withhold funding until Congress passes legislation that prevents the mass release of migrants, gives law enforcement and the military more tools to fight cartels, boots Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and reimburses Texas $10 billion for its border security efforts. 

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