House Republicans reach stopgap spending deal as Congress races to avert government shutdown

House Republicans revealed their own short-term government funding package Sunday evening as lawmakers in Washington work to reach a bipartisan deal to avoid a Sept. 30 shutdown deadline. 

The legislation, known as a continuing resolution that would fund the government through October, is the work of negotiations between the party’s conservative Freedom Caucus and its more moderate Main Street Caucus. 

It includes a House-passed border security package. 

The measure is dead on arrival with Senate Democrats and the White House but is expected to jump-start negotiations between the two parties to avoid a shutdown. 

The House GOP bill would leave the funding levels for the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs untouched but would institute a cut of several percentage points for other agencies amid frustration with Republicans about the federal deficit.  

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is attempting to garner as much Republican support for the bill without needing the help of Democrats to shepherd it through the chamber amid threats to oust him as speaker from members like Rep. Matt Gaetz, Florida Republican.

Still, the deal was met with immediate pushback from some in the Freedom Caucus, including Mr. Gaetz and North Carolina Rep. Dan Bishop. 

Mr. McCarthy has previously said a stopgap funding measure would likely be needed through December as congressional appropriators work to finalize a year-long budget.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, blasted the Republican proposal as a non-starter for her party. 

“Less than two weeks away from a government shutdown, House Republicans are still more focused on introducing extreme funding bills that would cut funding to the National Institutes of Health including funding for cancer research, defund the police, and decrease resources to important allies like Ukraine and Israel than working on [a] bipartisan solution that could be enacted,” she said in a statement.  

She accused House Republicans of wanting “to shut down the government because House Democrats, Senate Republicans and Democrats, and President Biden oppose their extreme cuts that will make working families pay even more for the things they need at a time when the cost of living is already too high.”

The measure includes most of the House Republicans’ Secure the Border Act, which entails finishing the Trump border wall, hiring more Border Patrol agents and reducing the Biden administration’s use of parole power to release migrants. 

The act also would reinstate the Trump-era policy that makes asylum seekers wait in Mexico until their asylum claims are adjudicated, increases the collection of DNA from migrants and makes the E-Verify work authorization platform mandatory for businesses. 

However, the E-Verify provision was not included in the stopgap funding bill. 

The measure also does not include more funding for Ukraine, spending that is not supported by many House Republicans but is by Democrats, Senate Republicans and the White House. 

The Freedom Caucus wants a top-line spending level for the annual budget that is about $115 billion less than the $1.6 trillion agreed to in the debt-limit deal earlier this year between Mr. McCarthy and Mr. Biden. 

Their resolve on this issue forced Mr. McCarthy to abruptly scrap votes last week on the annual defense spending bill, which should have been a layup for conservative lawmakers. 

The House has advanced just one of the 12 annual spending bills that fund the government, but it has not passed the Senate.

• Alex Miller contributed to this report. 

Source: WT