Republicans Grapple With Funding Bill Plan Amid Looming Shutdown
Republicans Grapple With Funding Bill Plan Amid Looming Shutdown

By Savannah Hulsey Pointer and Joseph Lord

Congress is once again debating a continuing resolution (CR), an interim measure designed to sustain government operations until a real agreement on funding can be achieved, as it faces the risk of a government shutdown.

But it seems that as of Nov. 9, House Republicans haven’t settled on exactly what this CR would entail, despite that the Nov. 17 deadline for their last resolution is fast approaching. As a result, they’re developing and circulating a number of new ideas about what to do next.

Rather than extending funding for the entire government, they’re considering setting different funding expiration dates for different parts of the government—the military, transportation, and agriculture—within the next month or so, followed by other parts of the government in the future.

This arrangement is called a “laddered” continuing resolution.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) weighed in on what a CR might look like in terms of spending cuts, saying it could be a simple solution.

“Joe Biden and most of the Democrats have already signed on to an automatic 1 percent cut to last year’s levels,” he told reporters on Capitol Hill.

“That will trigger in January but take effect in April. If we do a one-year CR, that’s what I would do—a one-year CR.”

When asked by The Epoch Times whether he thinks that the laddered CR is the best way to proceed, Mr. Massie said: “If there is a laddered CR, I don’t think any part of it can expire in December. I think that’s too short. And I think my colleagues resent having the pressure of Christmas vacation held over their heads in order to vote for something.”

More Representatives Sound Off

Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) told The Epoch Times that he would support a laddered CR if it came to the floor but that he wasn’t yet convinced that it was “the wisest move.”

Although he was quick to blame a group of “20 guys on the right” for his party’s inability to come to a resolution that would pass the House, the lawmaker was clear that he didn’t want it to come to a shutdown.

Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart (R-Fla.), on the other hand, said he believed that there would have to be a “short-term stopgap extension on the appropriation bill.”

When asked by The Epoch Times whether he expected the laddered CR to be the kind of compromise he could get behind, Mr. Díaz-Balart said: “This is the speaker’s call. … I feel confident that he’ll make the decision he thinks is right for the conference and for the country.”

However, he went on to say: “You know, if you ask me, does that ladder thing have any real benefits? I would probably argue that I don’t see them.

“I think 99 percent of the people here, Republican, understand that shutdown is really, really damaging to the country, to our national security. It wastes an amazing amount of money, and it gives you no leverage.”

Rep. John Duarte (R-Calif.) said moderate Republicans, including him, are standing their ground in Congress and not accepting an appropriations bill that has unacceptable additions.

“A lot of us in swing districts and a lot of us that want to be very respectful of where the American people are on these social issues, are standing our ground and setting some limits as to what can get jammed into these bills,” Mr. Duarte said.

However, the lawmaker said he and the other moderates will “try and keep from shutting the government down next week” but that “the American people are speaking very clearly; there is no appetite for national abortion law,” which is a contentious issue for Republicans.

Division on Capitol Hill

Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas) told reporters on Capitol Hill that the GOP is divided on spending.

“We are in a difficult position right now. I thought we were going to show the speaker a little bit of grace,” he said, referring to his fellow Republicans’ putting pressure on newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) to unite a divided party.

On his thoughts about a specific CR, Mr. Nehls said that although he didn’t know exactly what an acceptable measure might look like, “Tough decisions are having to be made.”

Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.), who has been against such resolutions, said the laddered approach is “valid” but that for something like this to pass, the House lawmakers have to have leadership they can trust.

From the upper chamber of Congress, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) had a different, less congenial take, telling reporters that he believes that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) “wants a government shutdown.”

“The odds of it keep rising because I think Schumer and Biden both believe if there’s a shutdown, the media can be counted on to instinctively blame it on Republicans,” Mr. Cruz said. “And so I think Schumer and Biden believe a shutdown benefits them politically.”

NTD’s Melina Wisecup contributed to this report.

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