Far Right Holds Out as Congress Begins Push to Enact Spending Deal | ET REALITY


Congress on Monday began an arduous effort to pass a new bipartisan spending deal in time to avoid a partial government shutdown next week, and President Mike Johnson encountered stiff resistance from his far-right flank to the deal he reached with the democrats.

Ultraconservative House Republicans have criticized the $1.66 trillion deal Johnson made with Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the majority leader, saying it is unacceptable.

The deal essentially conforms to the deal Congress passed last year to suspend the debt ceiling, which the hard right opposed at the time and hoped to reduce. It also includes $69 billion in spending that was added as a side deal, money that conservatives tried to block entirely.

“This is a total failure,” wrote on social media the far-right House Freedom Caucus, a group of Republicans that has proven to be a thorn in the side of a number of Republican speakers.

“I am a NO to the Johnson Schumer budget deal,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a right-wing Republican from Georgia, wrote on social media. “This $1.6 trillion budget deal does nothing to secure the border, stop the invasion, or stop the armed government from targeting Biden’s political enemies and innocent Americans.”

The reaction from the far right underlined once again that Johnson will most likely have to rely on substantial Democratic support to pass the spending bills underlying the deal. He also raised questions about the viability of his plan to try to attract Republican support for the spending measures by inserting conservative policy dictates aimed at restricting abortion rights and what Republicans view as “woke” administrative policies. “.

Democrats say they will oppose the addition of such political clauses. If a large bloc of Republicans oppose the spending bills, the president will have to eliminate policy provisions to secure Democratic support or face a shutdown.

“Democrats will not accept any Republican changes to the poison pill policy,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, said in a statement.

The result is that Johnson finds himself in a situation similar to the one that led to Kevin McCarthy’s ouster last fall: overseeing a tiny majority while facing a possible government shutdown and having to reach a deal with Democrats in the Senate and the White House that will surely generate opposition and protests from the far right.

It is unclear whether disaffected right-wing Republicans will try to depose Johnson as they did his predecessor. But they have already signaled that the freedom some of them gave him during his first weeks in office is fading, and his patience is wearing thin with his capitulations to Democrats.

Some Republicans suggested Johnson was simply bowing to the reality of divided government.

“Are we learning that negotiating with Democrats in the White House and Senate with a slim majority is difficult and that you can’t get everything you want, no matter who is in the president’s office?” Rep. Mike Collins, R-Ga., wrote on social media.

Democrats in the House and Senate have so far expressed support for the deal, which also has the backing of many Republicans in the Senate, where both parties had pushed for even more spending.

“I’m encouraged that the president and Democratic leaders have identified a path to completing” this year’s spending package, said Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the minority leader. “The United States faces serious national security challenges and Congress must act quickly to deliver the year-round resources this moment requires.”

The deal, announced Sunday, would provide a slight increase in Pentagon spending to $886.3 billion and keep other federal spending essentially stable at $772.7 billion. After the deal was reached, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees got to work crunching the numbers and applying those spending levels to the 12 measures that fund the government.

Four of the bills expire on January 19 and the remaining eight, including legislation that funds the Pentagon, would expire on February 2. To have even a chance of meeting the first deadline, the committees will have to operate at breakneck speed considering that the fiscal year actually began on October 1 and not a single bill has even come close to being passed by Congress. .

“We now have a framework agreement that will allow us to finally begin the hard work of negotiating (and passing) full-year spending bills,” said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

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