Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Mike Johnson reached a deal on the federal budget on Sunday, and the agreement is already raising the ire of some fiscal conservatives, according to several reports.
The $1.6 trillion deal sets defense spending at about $886 billion for the current fiscal year, a number that the White House and former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy had reached while negotiating over the debt ceiling in the summer of 2023, according to Politico. The agreement will reportedly allow for $773 billion for spending not related to defense, a victory for Democrats that is already angering some members of the Republican caucus as the extended funding deadlines draw closer on the calendar.
Legislators now have 12 days to conduct further negotiations and lock in the final bill text, as available cash for numerous federal agencies will run out on Jan. 19, according to Politico. The funding for the military and several of the largest government programs will expire on Feb. 2, while Sunday’s breakthrough may reduce the chances of an eventual shutdown, a host of contentious issues, including potential reforms to address the crisis unfolding at the southern border, remain unresolved.
A $1659 topline in spending is terrible & gives away the leverage accomplished in the (already not great) caps deal. We’ll wait to see if we get meaningful policy riders… but 1) the NDAA was not a good preview, & 2) as usual, we keep spending more money we don’t have.— Chip Roy (@chiproytx) January 7, 2024
Beyond the border, questions still remain about the form that military aid packages to Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan could take, according to Politico.
The Republican majority in the House is slim, which will fall to just one vote after Jan. 21, so Johnson can ill afford many defections from his caucus; Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas has already voiced his concerns, writing in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that the proposed “topline in spending is terrible” and that “as usual, we keep spending more money we don’t have.”
The deal reflects spending levels that are still significantly higher than what fiscal hawks in the Republican caucus have stated they would like to see.
House GOP’s New Year Resolution Must Be Cutting Spending pic.twitter.com/gPZLF60kwG— House Freedom Caucus (@freedomcaucus) December 29, 2023
In a Sunday letter to lawmakers, Johnson touted $16 billion in new spending reductions that he was able to win beyond what McCarthy was able to achieve during the debt ceiling fight, slicing $30 billion from funding bills drafted previously in the Senate, according to Politico. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, wrote on X that he is “encouraged that the Speaker and Democratic Leaders have identified a path toward completing FY 2024 appropriations” because “America faces serious national security challenges, and Congress must act quickly to deliver the full-year resources this moment requires.”
Beyond Roy, some members of the GOP caucus are apparently “pissed about this topline deal,” with some legislators reportedly peeved that they found out about the deal on social media and others highlighting that the deal is similar to the one that helped bring about McCarthy’s ouster at the hands of the House Freedom Caucus, according to the Washington Examiner. One member reportedly told the outlet that the lawmakers who led the charge to remove McCarthy from his leadership position had “failed” to replace him with a more fiscally conservative alternative.
“The bipartisan funding framework congressional leaders have reached moves us one step closer to preventing a needless government shutdown and protecting important national priorities. It reflects the funding levels that I negotiated with both parties and signed into law last spring,” President Joe Biden said of the deal, according to a statement issued by the White House. “It rejects deep cuts to programs hardworking families count on, and provides a path to passing full-year funding bills that deliver for the American people and are free of any extreme policies.”