The House of Representatives will need a short-term funding measure come September as it struggles to coalesce around a budget plan for fiscal 2024.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California, on August 14 told Republican members that to avoid a government shutdown he expects a “short-term” funding measure to keep US federal agencies running and give the House and Senate more time to negotiate comprehensive spending legislation. The current fiscal year ends September 30.
McCarthy’s comment came during a private conference call, according to GOP lawmakers.
“I do expect a short-term [continuing resolution] will be needed to finish all the work that we set out to do. But I don’t want the Senate to jam us against the holidays,” McCarthy told members. “I do not want to do a CR that jams us up against Christmas or the holidays. Not going to do that. Not going to play that game.”
Some members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus have indicated they would oppose a continuing resolution.
Congress has passed CRs running into December for the past three years.
McCarthy reportedly urged House Republicans to pass their FY2024 spending bills in order to match Senate Democrats, who’ve passed their own bills with a “97% yes vote.” House Republican leaders hope to cut more than $100 billion from the 2022 funding total, a move vehemently opposed by senators in both parties and the White House. “We’re walking into a battle to save the country,” McCarthy told House Republicans. “We’re going to be at a disadvantage, especially if we don’t get all of our work done.”
At least one Republican member took to social media to express his doubts that Congress will complete its 2024 budget. “I just got off a member call—it’s clear President Biden and Speaker McCarthy want a government shutdown, so that’s what Congress will do after we return in September, said Representative Tony Gonzales, Republican of Texas. “Everyone should plan accordingly.”
The Freedom Caucus is also doubling down on holding the budget hostage unless its demands are met. Representative Chip Roy, Republican of Texas, and 14 other Republicans on August 10 sent a letter warning that they don’t believe the Department of Homeland Security should get any funding without “significant change” along the southern border.
When House lawmakers return from the lengthy summer break on September 12, McCarthy would have just 12 workdays before the September 30 deadline to come up with a spending plan.
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