The House Freedom Caucus is already firing warning shots across the bow as the start of Washington’s new fiscal year approaches. The conservative coalition vowed to stand together in opposition if its demands for major reforms go unmet.
Members insisted that woke Pentagon initiatives be shelved in favor of focusing on a strong national defense. They are united against the “weaponization of the Justice Department and the FBI and require passage of the “Secure the Border Act of 2023.”
That legislation, according to the caucus, would address the surge of illegal migrants, combat human trafficking, and stem the tide of deadly fentanyl.
Business as usual is not going to cut it.
Time to get this government spending under control! https://t.co/do4gWNZ51o
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) August 21, 2023
The Freedom Caucus issued a press release solidifying its position.
It declared, “We remain committed to restoring the true FY 2022 topline spending level of $1.471 trillion without the use of gimmicks or reallocated rescissions to return the bureaucracy to its pre-COVID size.”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told party colleagues last week that he expects a short-term measure to be necessary next month to avert a government shutdown.
The group reiterated its commitment to “adequate defense funding.” It noted, however, that when lawmakers return to the Capitol that only a few days will remain before the government’s funding expires on Sept. 30.
Without the passage of a dozen appropriations bills, a short-term funding package would be required. The Freedom Caucus declared it will “refuse to support any such measure” that does not meet its basic requirements.
First, Democrats must restore federal spending to its level before the pandemic. Then, the Biden administration must “follow the law and fulfill its most basic responsibilities.”
There are approximately three dozen Republican members of the Freedom Caucus. This fact alone puts pressure on McCarthy to maintain their support as the GOP holds only a slim majority in the House. Their unified effort can easily derail a party-line vote.
Members further warned they will not fall in line with punting responsibility to a later date. This could come in the form of a flurry of stopgap spending measures designed to keep the government afloat until an omnibus package can be approved toward the end of the year.
The Freedom Caucus press release decried “monstrous, budget-busting, pork-filled [and] lobbyist handout” spending likely to be cobbled together by year’s end.
It further pledged opposition to a “blank check” for Ukraine included in a supplemental appropriations bill.