WASHINGTON — A faction of far-right Republicans has promised they will threaten to shut down the government if the GOP wins back the House of Representatives in the upcoming election, putting leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) in a precarious position. .
Members of the Freedom Caucus have said they will oppose any government funding bill that expires before the next Congress, when Republicans can control the chamber and have more leverage to demand.
Representative Chip Roy (R-Texas) said on the House floor Wednesday with Freedom Caucus President Scott Perry (R-Pa.), “We should not fund a government that uses open borders to put the American people at risk.” allowing.”
It is an example of the challenges McCarthy, the current House minority leader, will face if his party wins in the mid-November midterm – especially if it wins by a small margin, which seems increasingly possible.
Earlier this year, polling suggested Republicans would withdraw the House in a “red wave,” giving them an overwhelming majority. But polls have shifted, and the latest analysis cook political report Says there are currently only 212 races skewed toward Republicans, while 31 are toss-ups.
Republicans need 218 to take control. They could wind up with a majority in the form of the Democrats’ current four-seat cushion, which was barely enough to pass some symbolic police reform bills this week.
Meanwhile, a initial letter About opposing the short term funding bill this week from Roy Received 41 signatures from fellow RepublicansAnd McCarthy has said that he will also vote no.
Government funding runs out at the end of next week, but Democrats plan to pass a so-called continuing resolution to halt the shutdown and give incumbent lawmakers time for a more complete funding bill after midterm – but Before the new ones are seated. Democrats can pass resolutions without the help of Republicans.
The Freedom Caucus will wait until early next year – when the GOP may have more power – to vote on funding the government.
“If we don’t get a change next week and we get a continuous offer in December, we should demand a change in December,” Roy said in his speech. “And if we don’t get a change in December, we should ask for a change in January or February or March.”
The problem is that even if Republicans take over both houses of Congress, Democrats still have veto power in the Senate and the White House. The Freedom Caucus wants maximum changes on immigration, energy and vaccines, but will be drawn to a government shutdown if it can’t get them.
“I have no interest in funding the bureaucratic asses that are making my people in Texas less secure,” Roy told HuffPost on Thursday. “If Biden wants to shut down the government, that’s on him.”
Ted Cruz (R-Texas) chief of staff during the infamous 17-day shutdown he helped lead in 2013. The move failed to defy then-President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, but Roy said that “Cruise did quite well in 2016,” when she placed second only to Donald Trump in the Republican presidential primary.
Spending is unlikely to decline in early 2023. Republicans and Democrats on the House and Senate appropriations committees are setting up a lame-duck vote on an all-encompassing spending bill that will fund the government through the next year.
Tom Cole, a veteran Republican appropriator from Oklahoma, told HuffPost that a short-term spending bill requiring high-stakes votes in February or March would be unfair to newly elected lawmakers still settling into their offices. And he suggested that trying to placate the Freedom Caucus would be in vain.
“You can’t write an appropriations bill with a Democratic president and think you’ll get everything you want,” Cole said.
“I have no interest in funding those bureaucratic assholes that are making my people in Texas less secure.”
– Representative Chip Roy (R-Texas)
But the Freedom Caucus will have other opportunities to lose weight. At some point next year, Congress will need to increase the federal borrowing limit, allowing the government to continue spending money as lawmakers already require.
Conservative Republicans have sought to hold the government’s credibility hostage to other demands. Just this month, Trump complained that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) “dropped it for nothing” last year.
A speaker McCarthy would face a choice: threatening a default on the national debt with the Freedom Caucus and with potentially disastrous economic consequences, or working with Democrats and risking his role as leader.
The Freedom Caucus demanded earlier this year that a Republican House pass the bill only with a “majority majority,” meaning it would not approve McCarthy passing the bill with Democratic votes. Not coincidentally, it has also sought changes in the procedure of the House to make it easier to oust the Speaker.
One Freedom Caucus member, Representative Mark Green (R-Ten.), suggested that McCarthy had worked well with the various Republican factions and might not have had such a hard time. Eventually, McCarthy survived an audio recording that showed he was looking to ask Trump to resign from the presidency after the January 6, 2001 Capitol riots.
“Remember when these comments came out? They stayed with him, which I think is a testament to his efforts to bridge that gap,” Green said.
More importantly, Trump has stayed with McCarthy, seemingly delighted in the leader’s efforts to pacify him.
Roy declined to say whether he would support a House GOP rebellion in a hypothetical scenario where McCarthy works with Democrats. Instead, he noted that McCarthy had supported the Freedom Caucus in the fight for low-stakes lame-duck spending.
“It’s a good sign,” Roy said.