Freedom Caucus digs in on spending demands of McCarthy
Members of the hard-line conservative House Freedom Caucus marked their return to Washington on Tuesday by digging in on their calls for policy conditions on a stopgap measure to fund the government past a Sept. 30 shutdown deadline.
The demands come as right-wing frustration is building with Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) over how he has handled spending matters.
“We got rolled on the debt ceiling. We’re not gonna get rolled again,” Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) said, referencing a debt limit bill McCarthy negotiated with President Biden that the group did not like. “We’re gonna use our votes to defund as many things as we can.”
Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) also expressed frustration with how leadership handled the debt limit bill, which passed the House due to support from Democrats, and he referenced the drawn-out Speaker’s election in January in which conservatives extracted promises from McCarthy on spending matters.
“January was about us not doing what we’ve always done and expected we’ll get a different result. January was about us when we have the majority not passing major spending bills with the majority of Democrat votes,” Good said.
Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) agreed that the House GOP has not followed through on what was decided at the “meeting of the minds” in January.
“We haven’t done what we agreed to do,” Roy said. “We talked about passing a balanced budget. We’ve talked about actually passing a budget. We haven’t done that. We talked about having term limits, bringing the bill to the floor. We haven’t done that.”
The Freedom Caucus in August took an official position to oppose any “clean” continuing resolution to fund the government past the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30 that doesn’t include policy changes relating to the southern border, the Department of Justice and “woke” policies at the Pentagon.
Members of the group have also pushed for the House to pass appropriations bills at lower overall levels than where they have been marked up, leading to disagreements and to leaders punting consideration of one bill that leaders had scheduled to come up before August recess.
Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), the group’s chairman, insisted that the group is not advocating for a government shutdown.
“We’re not here to talk about brinksmanship. No one is here interested in a pause in government funding,” Perry said. “What we’re interested in is taking the Biden boot off the neck of the American people.”
McCarthy is seeking GOP support for a continuing resolution before Sept. 30.
The Freedom Caucus was joined by heavy hitters from outside conservative organizations, including Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts, Club for Growth President David McIntosh, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, Tea Party Action co-founder Jenny Beth Martin, Citizens for Renewing America Executive Director Wade Miller, FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon and Rosemary Jenks of NumbersUSA. Sens. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) also briefly spoke at the event.