EXCLUSIVE: An large, influential bloc of House Republicans is urging Speaker Kevin McCarthy to muscle in key conservative priorities in any short-term spending deal made to avoid a government shutdown.
The 175-member-strong Republican Study Committee (RSC), led by Rep. Kevin Hern, R-Okla., sent an internal memo to lawmakers on Monday calling on them to oppose a “clean” spending patch, known as a continuing resolution (CR), that would extend the last year’s fiscal priorities.
“A ‘clean’ CR would simply serve as a continuation of the [fiscal year] 2023 omnibus ‘monstrosity’ by extending Pelosi’s bloated spending levels and Biden’s failed policies,” the memo, obtained exclusively by Fox News Digital, said.
“Thus, as part of an effort to expeditiously establish a conservative House position on a CR, members must decide what funding level, attached policy reforms, and length justify passage of temporary funding.”
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Outspoken members on the right of McCarthy’s House GOP conference have criticized calls for a CR, panning it as an extension of a Democrat-controlled Congress’ priorities packaged in a mammoth “omnibus” spending bill.
But House and Senate leaders on both sides have acknowledged the need for more time to cobble together 12 individual spending bills, as McCarthy promised, and have argued that a several-week CR is needed to extend the funding deadline past Sept. 30 to do so.
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In the memo sent to GOP lawmakers on Monday, the RSC argued that not only is the CR an opportunity to pass conservative agenda items, but also that passing any spending deal would put pressure on Democrats to advance it – or risk the economic effects.
“When the House returns in September, Congress will have just three weeks before discretionary government funding expires. Leaders in both the House and Senate have suggested a Continuing Resolution (CR) would be needed to avoid a shutdown,” the memo said.
“While House Republicans should continue to advance individual appropriations bills that turn back the clock on Biden’s failed policies and bloated discretionary budget, they could also move expeditiously to establish a truly conservative House position on a CR.
“In doing so, Republicans could seek to: (1) reiterate the House’s support for pre-COVID spending levels by ensuring the CR comports with the overall spending limit contained in the House-passed Limit, Save, Grow Act; (2) ensure the CR lasts to a date that takes holiday shutdown pressure out of the equation; and (3) show unwavering commitment to fighting Biden’s radical agenda by coupling the CR with high priority conservative policies.”
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The memo added that “the pressure of a shutdown would shift to Senate Democrats and President Biden.”
It also called on Republican lawmakers to be wary of Biden’s $40 billion supplemental funding request grouping federal disaster relief aid with Ukraine aid and border security.
“Conservatives may also wish to separate unrelated aspects of supplemental funding. For instance, even conservatives who support Ukraine funding may nonetheless wish to separate it from funding for the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF), which would provide aid to Americans impacted by natural disasters such as those in Hawaii, and a CR designed to prevent a shutdown,” the RSC said. “Additionally, conservatives may note that Biden’s supplemental request included funding purportedly for addressing the crisis he has created at the border. Conservatives must recognize that sending more money without adequate policy changes would simply aid and abet Biden and Mayorkas’ illegal open border policies.”
McCarthy reiterated the need for a CR in an interview on Fox Business’ “Mornings With Maria” on Sunday and vowed not to force a vote that would put the matter right up against the holiday season. He also suggested that failing to make a deal by Sept. 30, risking a shutdown, could hamper the House GOP’s investigative efforts into President Biden and his son Hunter.
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“I don’t believe we’ll have enough time to pass all the appropriation bills by Sept. 30th. So I would actually like to have a short term CR, only to make our argument stronger,” McCarthy said. “If we’re able to pass our appropriation bills, we’re in a stronger position to remove [former Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s] policies that are locked into law right now – the wokeism, the overspending, the non-security of this border…make us energy independent, make our streets safer, and let our parents have a say in their kids education.”
The RSC memo comes after a similar push by the hardline-right House Freedom Caucus also opposing a “clean” CR. They’re wary of repeating the final debt limit deal’s passage, which got more Democratic than Republican votes in both chambers – despite getting a majority of House Republicans as well.