House Freedom Caucus says it won’t back “clean” short-term funding bill to keep government afloat.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who has become supportive of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) leadership, said Thursday she was pleased to no longer be part of the House Freedom Caucus (HFC), a group she called “the burn-it-all-down caucus.”
“I’m not a member of the burn-it-all-down caucus anymore,” Ms. Greene told reporters. “I’m a greatly, very happily a free agent and I want to do my job here.”
The HFC voted to oust Ms. Greene in July after her confrontation on the House floor with another member, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), whom she accused of having copied articles of impeachment she filed against President Joe Biden. Some others in the group took issue with her decisions ranging from voting in favor of the debt ceiling bill to backing Mr. McCarthy in his fight for speakership.
The congresswoman’s comments come amid the battle between Mr. McCarthy and HFC members, who are refusing to advance any appropriations bills unless they secure non-defense spending cuts at overall levels lower than caps in the debt ceiling deal Mr. McCarthy made with Democrat leaders in June.
Under the plan laid out by Mr. McCarthy, the House would pass a set of 12 annual appropriations bills before getting to work out the differences with the version the Senate passes. He also warned that the lower chamber must pass a continuing resolution (CR), a short-term extension that would keep the federal government running past the end of fiscal year 2023 on Sept. 30.
The House has so far passed just one of the 12 bills. The bill funds military housing and veterans’ benefits, and is generally considered the least difficult one to pass.
In August, the HFC declared it would oppose any “clean” CR that doesn’t include policy changes relating to issues such as the illegal immigration crisis at the southern border, the weaponization of the Justice Department, and leftist “woke” policies in the military, even if that would lead to a partial government shutdown on Oct. 1.
Specifically, the caucus demanded that any stopgap includes what’s known as Secure the Border Act of 2023, which aimed to “cease the unchecked flow of illegal migrants, combat the evils of human trafficking, and stop the flood of dangerous fentanyl into our communities.” The bill cleared the House in May as H.R. 2, a number indicating its top priority.
The group also called on lawmakers to “address the unprecedented weaponization of the Justice Department and FBI to focus them on prosecuting real criminals instead of conducting political witch hunts and targeting law-abiding citizens,” a demand that came after former President Donald Trump was indicted for a fourth time.
Finally, the HFC Republicans called to “end the Left’s cancerous woke policies in the Pentagon,” which they said undermine the U.S. military’s capability to win wars.
“We’re not interested in a continuing resolution that continues the policies and the spending of the Biden-Schumer-Pelosi era and we’re not going to vote for it,” HFC Chairman Scott Perry (R-Penn.) said on Tuesday.
The battle is also unfolding against the backdrop of Mr. McCarthy’s effort to launch an impeachment inquiry against President Biden over allegations of “abuse of power, obstruction, and corruption,” although the HFC insisted that this won’t be affecting their stance on government spending.
“Those are two separate conversations and two separate actions by Congress,” said Rep. Andy Ogles (R-Tenn.), an HFC member. “There is no leverage with an impeachment process. And if anyone tries to use that to leverage votes for a CR, there will be hell to pay.”
The House is investigating President Biden’s alleged ties with the business his son, Hunter, conducted in Ukraine and China. House Republicans said the investigation has already presented evidence that Mr. Hunter Biden financially benefited from his father’s position as vice president and then president.
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) will lead the inquiry alongside House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-Mo.).