The decade's most triggering comedy
A group of 21 Republicans, led by Reps. Scott Perry (R-PA) and Chip Roy (R-TX), wrote to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) this week, seeking concessions following this spring’s bipartisan deal to avoid a default on the U.S. debt that rankled conservatives who argued it did not adequately rein in spending below the “bloated” fiscal 2023 level.
“We are thankful for your recent efforts – since that debt ceiling agreement – to restore cross-conference meetings to achieve consensus on appropriations,” the letter says.
“As we already have done, we will work in good faith to offer ideas on the best ways to reduce spending, but only if combined with the leadership necessary to set the target for the whole team,” the letter adds. “For unity to exist, we must have a clear mission to actually cut the total discretionary federal bureaucracy to pre-pandemic levels and end the empowerment of President Biden’s radical woke and weaponized government.”
At the core of their ultimatum is a demand that all appropriations measures to fund the various arms of the federal government “be achieved without the use of reallocated rescissions to increase discretionary spending above” the fiscal 2022 top-line level of $1.471 trillion.
Rescissions, which are a tool used to rescind unspent funds that can be used elsewhere, “are useful in reducing spending and we encourage their use, but we cannot support using them to shift funding to the very bureaucrats implementing the Biden agenda at roughly current levels of spending, thereby enshrining and continuing Democrats’ reckless inflationary spending,” the letter says.
House Appropriations Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-TX) has already said she is committed to using the mark-up process on appropriations bills to limit spending to the fiscal 2022 top-line level.
Granger also mentioned clawing back $115 billion “in unnecessary, partisan programs” to “re-focus government spending consistent with Republican priorities, keeping total spending 1% lower than if we were operating under a continuing resolution.”
Republicans have a slim majority in the House, meaning leadership can only afford to lose a couple of GOP votes without support from the Democrats. As the appropriations process continues over the next several weeks, they also have to contend with a Democrat-led Senate and President Joe Biden to enact legislation to keep funding the government past the September 30 deadline, which is the end of the fiscal year, or face the prospect of a shutdown.
Beyond various other requests, including that McCarthy reject an omnibus measure and supplemental Ukraine appropriations bill, the 21 conservatives drew a spending line they said they would not cross.
“We plan to vote against any appropriations bills designed to achieve the approximately $1.586 trillion top-line spending level – roughly equal to the spending caps agreed to with President Biden in the debt ceiling deal and representing a mere 1% reduction from Democrats’ egregious post-COVID spending level,” the letter says.
“Absent adhering to the $1.471 trillion spending level – and/or achieving significant policy victories such as forcing President Biden to sign H.R. 2 and take the steps necessary to secure the border – we see an impossible path to reach 218 Republican votes on appropriations or other measures,” it continues.