Republicans on the House Freedom Caucus have softened their hard-line position on government spending cuts over fears that they might be sidelined in the next government shutdown battle if they stubbornly hold to implausible demands, NBC News reported.
Freedom Caucus Chairman Scott Perry (R-PA) said last week that he now supports the overall spending level of $1.59 trillion that was initially negotiated by President Biden and former Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
In backing away from the $1.471 trillion spending level the Freedom Caucus demanded, Perry told reporters that Congress must not go above the $1.59 trillion level.
Calling for “no more gimmicks,” Perry said most of the House and Senate voted for the $1.59 trillion level and Congress should not “be adding stuff onto it.”
Texas Republican Chip Roy, an outspoken member of the Freedom Caucus, also indicated that he would support the $1.59 trillion spending package provided that there were “no gimmicks” or “side deals” that would increase that level.
Roy said the $1.471 trillion level request was a way for the Freedom Caucus to “plant” a “flag” while knowing that, at best, they may only get $1.53 or $1.54 trillion. He explained calling for lower spending is the Freedom Caucus’s way of “tugging to the right on the spending restraint.”
The shift from the Freedom Caucus came after Speaker Mike Johnson met with Senate Republicans and was warned that Congress may have to pass a yearlong continuing resolution if both parties are unable to arrive at a full appropriations deal.
Both Republican and Democrat lawmakers prefer to avoid a yearlong continuing resolution, with conservatives in the House fearful that it would leave the country worse off by continuing spending at the rate established when Democrats had full control of Congress.
Congress averted a government shutdown in mid-November by passing a continuing resolution to keep some parts of the federal government funded until January 19 and the rest of the government funded until February 2 to allow Congress more time to negotiate a full appropriations package.