Hardliners in the US House increase pressure on spending as a reckoning looms

By Chicago 6 Min Read

WASHINGTON, July 10 (Reuters) – More than 20 hardline Republicans in the U.S. House on Monday warned Speaker Kevin McCarthy they will seek to freeze their party’s 2024 tax bills unless spending levels are cut below below the levels agreed by McCarthy and Democratic President Joe Biden. May.

Hardliners, including members of the House Freedom Caucus, have also called on McCarthy to delay appropriations votes in the House of Representatives until all 12 government funding bills have been finalized and can be submitted to a parallel review.

The threat comes amid a looming showdown between the Republican-controlled House and the Democrat-led Senate, potentially complicating efforts to avoid a government shutdown after the current fiscal year ends on Sept. 30.

“We expect all budget measures … to be in line with the fiscal year 2022 cap of $1.471 trillion,” the 21 lawmakers, led by Representatives Scott Perry and Chip Roy, said in a letter. , both prominent members of the House Freedom Caucus.

“Absent the $1.471 trillion spending level … we see an impossible path to achieving 218 Republican votes on appropriations or other measures,” the letter read.

The group includes lawmakers who closed the House floor last month in protest of McCarthy’s May deal with Biden that avoided a default on US debt.

McCarthy’s office did not respond to a question from Reuters asking for comment on the letter.

Meanwhile, Senate appropriaters are aiming for bipartisan deals — all of which point to tough negotiations ahead — as Congress returned Monday from its two-week July 4 recess.

A number of burning issues ranging from abortion to transgender rights are expected to be dragged into upcoming debates, further complicating matters. If lawmakers fail to agree on a budget before the next fiscal year starts on Oct. 1, the United States could see its fourth partial government shutdown in a decade.

Senate negotiators, who were largely sidelined during recent talks between House Republicans and the White House over the federal government’s $31.4 trillion debt ceiling, were working on bills that are attracting strong bipartisan support.

“We are determined to continue working together in a bipartisan manner to come up with serious funding projects that can be signed into law,” Democratic Senator Patty Murray and Republican Senator Susan Collins said in a joint statement.

Republicans hold the House with a narrow majority of 222-212, while Democrats hold a razor-thin majority of 51-49 in the Senate, meaning nothing can become law without the votes of both parties.


The heads of the two chambers do not even agree on the spending targets they are aiming for.

Senate negotiators plan to maintain the $1.59 trillion discretionary spending goal agreed by Biden and McCarthy in their May deal.

House Republicans last month voted a lower goal of $1.47 trillion, which would cut spending on the environment, public assistance and foreign aid.

The House goal does not take into account $115 billion in existing funding that Republican leaders could redirect to party priorities to offset the cuts.

House Republicans are also looking to use the legislation to roll back Biden’s key priorities in areas like climate change and tax collection. They also seek to eliminate or change some existing programs involving workforce diversity, transgender protection, and women’s access to abortion that Democrats are fighting for.

“I am ready to end this charade of considering extreme Republican funding bills and join my colleagues in both houses and on both sides of the aisle in working toward a final deal” on government spending next year. Democratic Rep. Rosa DeLauro said in a statement on Friday.

DeLauro, the senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, noted that House Republicans “know and have said publicly that eventually they will need Democratic votes to keep government open.”

Failure to agree on appropriations could lead to a partial government shutdown in the fall and winter that could hamper many federal activities, including air traffic control, military pay increases and the operation of national parks.

Representative David Joyce, who chairs the Republican Governance Group, or RG2, a more moderate group of 42 lawmakers interested in House governance, said there could be room for a short-term funding deal to maintain government operations while i talks continue into the fall.

“I’m not a huge fan of shutouts at all, and I don’t think anyone in RG2 or in our groups is really thinking about it,” Joyce told Reuters. “We’re trying to think about how to make things work.”

Reporting by David Morgan and Richard Cowan; Editing by Scott Malone, Jonathan Oatis and Leslie Adler

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Principles of Trust.

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