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Ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus Members Ease Stance on Government Spending

In the upcoming government shutdown fight, leaders of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus are backing down from their hardline position on government spending. They are concerned that standing firm on their implausible demands will lead to them being sidelined.

Rep. Scott Perry, the chairman of the group, now supports the $1.59 trillion spending level negotiated between President Joe Biden and former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, abandoning the previous demand of $1.471 trillion.

Perry emphasized that Congress must not exceed this level, stating, “No more gimmicks. Most of the House voted for it. Most of the Senate voted for it. That’s where we have to be. Don’t be adding stuff onto it.”

Rep. Chip Roy, another member of the Freedom Caucus, echoed this sentiment, expressing his preference for $1.59 trillion as long as there are no gimmicks or side deals to increase the number. He admitted that the earlier demand of $1.471 trillion was a negotiating tactic.

Credits: DepositPhotos

These shifts occurred on the same day that Speaker Mike Johnson met with Senate Republicans and warned that Congress may need to accept a yearlong continuing resolution (CR) if they fail to reach a full funding deal.

Congress will face a funding deadline early next year to avoid a government shutdown, with some parts of the government running out of money on Jan. 19 and others on Feb. 2. Both parties aim to avoid a yearlong stopgap bill, as it would maintain the status quo devised when Democrats had full control of Washington.

The Freedom Caucus hopes that their change in position will facilitate a funding deal after their previous demands resulted in McCarthy’s removal as speaker.

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Credit: DepositPhotos

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However, significant obstacles remain. There is a substantial divide between the Republican-led House and the Democratic-controlled Senate regarding spending preferences.

The House is attaching several controversial policy measures favored by conservatives, such as anti-abortion provisions and anti-LGBTQ measures, which are unlikely to gain traction in the Senate. Sen. Patty Murray, the chair of the Appropriations Committee, insists that the Biden-McCarthy deal must be upheld in its entirety and urges House Republicans to abandon their radical demands.

Despite these challenges, lawmakers remain optimistic that a lapse and shutdown can be avoided. Sen. Boozman expressed confidence, stating, “I don’t know exactly how it’s going to get done, but I feel confident that we’ll get it done.”

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