The bill cuts government spending by 8 percent and proposes resuming the construction of the border wall.
Both factions of the Republican Party in the House of Representatives agreed to a government spending bill aimed at extending the Oct. 1 government shutdown for a month.
Federal funding is set to run out Sept. 30, after which the government may shut down. In order to prevent this from happening, lawmakers in the Republican-controlled House and the Democrat-controlled Senate must pass a spending bill resolving the funding crisis. However, both parties are at odds with the content of the bill.
Within the Republican Party, there is disunity about what the spending bill should include. On Sunday, members of two Republican House factions—House Freedom Caucus and Main Street Caucus—announced a stopgap bill aimed at keeping the government running until at least Oct. 31.
The so-called continuing resolution (CR) seeks to cut down government spending on domestic agencies by 8 percent, with exceptions provided for veterans and military funding. It also includes most provisions of the Secure the Border Act of 2023 put forward by some Republicans, including a resumption of border wall construction.
The bill, however, does not mention Ukraine aid, which remains a priority for the White House and many lawmakers on both sides.
Spending cuts and immigration provisions are expected to kill the bill in the Democrat-controlled Senate. It is also unclear how much backing the bill has among Republicans to pass in the House, where it is expected to be voted on Thursday.
In an interview with Fox News, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) urged Republican colleagues to avert a shutdown as it would not be in the interest of the party.
“A shutdown would only give strength to the Democrats,” he said. “It would give the power to Biden. It wouldn’t pay our troops. It wouldn’t pay our border agents. More people would be coming across. I actually want to achieve something.”
The continuing resolution is facing opposition from both Republicans and Democrats. “No CR. Pass the damn appropriations bills. Roll back the crazy bureaucracy to pre-COVID levels. Now,” Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) said in an X post on Sept. 18.
Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) said that he “will not be supporting” a continuing resolution and will be “voting against the CR this week.”
“A CR is a continuation of Nancy Pelosi’s budget and Joe Biden’s policies. We were assured in January that we weren’t going to use the Democrats’ gimmicks to fund government and that we would deliver the 12 appropriations bills, thereby funding government responsibly and transparently,” he said in an X post.
“It’s crystal clear a Gov’t shutdown is coming. I represent 66% of the Texas-Mexico border—a hollow Continuing Resolution built to win a messaging battle does nothing to keep America safe,” Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Tex.) said in an X post on Sept. 18.
In an interview with The Hill, Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.) said that she will be returning to Washington to vote against the continuing resolution.
“If I’m needed, I’m coming,” Ms. Luna said, adding that she “will fly to vote ‘no’ because I know how important this is.”
House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) called the Republican bill “extreme” in a Sept. 17 statement.
“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 bipartisan solution that could be enacted,” she said.
Federal Deficit and Spending
The crisis over the spending bill comes as the federal budget deficit totaled $2 trillion over the past 12 months, according to a Sept. 12 post by the government watchdog Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB). The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) had predicted the deficit to come to $2 trillion for the current fiscal, double the $1 trillion in the last fiscal year.
According to the CRFB, spending accounted for 24.1 percent of GDP over the past year, up from 23.7 percent in the previous year. In contrast, revenues only made up 16.8 percent of GDP.
“As a result of this gap, deficits have totaled 7.4 percent of GDP over the past year—larger than any fiscal year in history where the country did not face a war, recession, or other major emergency,” it said. “Structural deficits continue to rise as overall spending increases and revenue growth flattens.”
Republicans have blasted the Biden administration for its spending policies and threatening America’s fiscal security.
“Republicans cannot rubber stamp the status quo in DC with blank checks. The Biden White House is losing on the issues and we have a responsibility to demand security and fiscal sanity. Now,” Rep. Chip Roy (R-Tex.) said in an X post on Sept. 6.
“Why would Republicans continue to fund Washington’s status quo of open borders, runaway inflationary spending, and weaponized government? Americans are SICK & TIRED of the status quo. It’s our job to change it,” Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Wis.) said in an X post on Sept. 6.