The two top congressional Republicans are bitterly split on a yearlong budget deal, with some allies of Kevin McCarthy even accusing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of selling them out.
House Republicans say that McConnell, R-Ky., should only agree to help Democrats fund the government until mid-January. The timeline would give Republicans more leverage in budget negotiations since the party is set to control the House of Representatives.
“Republican voters fought hard to win back control of the House to take away insane spending control from the Democrats,” said Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. “Mitch McConnell is on the verge of taking away House Republicans’ power of the purse next year by making a dirty deal with the Democrats.”
House Minority Leader McCarthy, R-Calif., who is the GOP’s designee for House speaker, recently told Fox News that a lame-duck budget deal would be “wrong.”
CONGRESS ACHIEVES ‘FRAMEWORK’ FOR OMNIBUS SPENDING BILL TO AVERT GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN
“Why would you want to work on anything if we [don’t] have the gavel inside Congress?,” the California Republican told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham on Dec. 5. “Wait until we’re in charge.”
Another House Republican was less diplomatic, saying McConnell’s help in passing a yearlong budget deal amounted to a “sellout.”
SENATE TEES UP ONE-WEEK FUNDING BILL TO AVERT GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN
House and Senate appropriators on Tuesday reached a nearly $1.7 trillion budget deal to fund the government until the end of September. Lawmakers are likely to approve the budget deal next week, but will need to first pass a one-week government funding bill before Friday to avert a shutdown.
“We have a framework that provides a path forward to enact an omnibus next week,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn.
While the full budget has yet to be released, it is likely to include billions in funding for the pet projects of lawmakers via congressional earmarks. The Senate alone is slated to include more than 3,000 earmarks within the budget, while the House will get more than 4,300.
The budget will require at least 10 GOP supporters to overcome the 60-vote filibuster threshold within the evenly split Senate. Given that reality, House Republicans say McConnell has the power to stop the deal.
“Senate Republicans must use every tool at their disposal to stop the Democrats’ last-ditch spending blowout,” said Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas.
McConnell has rebuffed such calls. The GOP leader argues that with Democrats in control of Congress and the White House, Republicans were limited in what they could do.
“We’re on defense,” said McConnell. We’re dealing with the cards that we were dealt.”
McConnell also argued that despite not being in the majority, Republicans were able to exert influence over the budget. Democrats initially wanted to boost domestic spending over defense, but were forced to back down due to GOP opposition.
The final deal is set to appropriate more than $858 billion for defense spending, a 10% increase. It also includes $787 billion in domestic spending and additional aid for Ukraine.
“Given the fact Democrats have the presidency, the House and the Senate, to meet our defense number and to not pay any bonus to the Democrats on the domestic side… is far and away the best we could do, given the fact that we don’t control the floor or the government,” said McConnell.
McConnell’s allies within the Senate note that House Republicans are willing to risk a government shutdown in exchange for an uncertain shot at a better deal next year. They also note that House Republicans will only hold a narrow majority next Congress with hard-line conservatives eager to shut down the government over policy differences and impeach Biden appointees.
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“We’ve been here before during the Tea Party era,” said a Senate Republican aide. “The House will grumble about being left out, but they haven’t proven themselves as capable of governing, either.”