January 16, 2024


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Stopgap spending bill to avoid government shutdown expected to pass Congress despite right-wing opposition

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Congress is expected to pass a short-term federal funding extension known as a continuing resolution (CR) this week aimed at avoiding a government shutdown.

It’s expected to pass with support from Republican and Democrat leaders who have agreed on little beyond the idea that shutting down the government is a bad idea both practically and politically.

The Republican majority in the House has experienced deep fractures over federal spending, with a growing bloc of conservatives declaring they prefer a government shutdown to an extension of the previous Democrat Congress’s spending priorities.

Within hours of the CR legislative text being made public, the hard-line right House Freedom Caucus panned it as a ‘surrender.’ Johnson, meanwhile, argued that the extra time will keep Republicans on track to secure conservative policy victories in the spending fight.

The ultra-conservative faction has had outsized influence on the House GOP majority for much of this Congress, particularly on bills that rely on Republican votes to pass. 

But two GOP aides who spoke with Fox News Digital anticipate that there’s little the Freedom Caucus and its allies can do about stopping the CR. 

It’s uncertain whether House GOP leaders will secure support from a majority of their own members, given the current political climate on spending, both aides suggested.

‘It’ll be a showdown for sure,’ one Republican aide told Fox News Digital. They said earlier, ‘The Freedom Caucus offers nothing more than criticism without a single suggestion to avert a government shutdown, and progressives want to spend more money than what this agreement represents.’

‘That leaves the typical coalition of Republicans and Democrats who will get this CR across the finish line,’ the aide predicted. ‘While this bill will pass on the House Floor, more Republicans than in the past will be forced to vote against this CR for political reasons.’

Meanwhile, a GOP aide to a moderate lawmaker blamed that political climate on the eight House Republicans led by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., who ousted ex-Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., in October.

‘Thanks to the Gaetz gang who were more concerned with getting political revenge on Kevin McCarthy with help from Democrats, the House will once again be forced to pass a CR rather than deliver the spending reform we promised,’ the second aide said.

The new CR would extend the two current government funding deadlines from Jan. 19 and Feb. 2 to March 1 and March 8.

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