Updated Sep 17, 2023 - Politics & Policy

House GOP groups reach deal on stopgap government funding bill

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (L) speaking to Main Street Caucus Chair Dusty Johnson (M) and Freedom Caucus Chair Scott Perry (R). Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.

Negotiations between two factions of House Republicans have resulted in a deal on a bill to keep a government shutdown at bay for a month.

Why it matters: The deal may be dead on arrival in the Senate, but House Republicans are aiming to strengthen their hand in eventual talks with the upper chamber.

What we're hearing: The so-called "continuing resolution" would keep the government funded for 30 days with a 8% across the board cut in federal spending for every agency except the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, according to two GOP sources.

  • The bill would also include H.R. 2, House Republicans bill to restore much of the Trump-era border policy, excluding a provision requiring employers to use the Department of Homeland Security's "e-verify" system to determine the eligibility of their employees.
  • The deal was negotiated by the pragmatist Main Street Caucus and the right-wing Freedom Caucus.
  • The legislation is sponsored by Freedom Caucus Reps. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), Scott Perry (R-Pa.), and Main Street Reps. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.), Stephanie Bice (R-Okla.), Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.).

Yes, but: Conservatives, who have been consistently voicing opposition to the GOP's spending proposals due to insufficient spending cuts and conservative policy, may still not be sold.

  • "This is a gift to Joe Biden. I'm opposed," said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who has threatened to try to remove House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) for trying to pass a stopgap bill.
  • Another conservative lawmaker told Axios that this bill would be a "very tough vote" because it only cuts most non-defense discretionary spending by 1%.
  • Several other conservative lawmakers told Axios they are either a "no" or leaning no.

The other side: Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-N.Y.), who was involved in negotiations on the Main Street Caucus side, told Axios in an interview the bill should satisfy conservative because its cuts are "pretty extensive."

  • "The way in which we reined in federal spending, shrink the size and scope of federal government is as aggressive and incremental as possible," Molinaro said.
  • "Certainly, there are those in the conference that will believe it doesn't go far enough. There are those who believe that it goes too far. That is the goal of negotiations and ultimately how you achieve consensus."

The big picture: This bill is not likely to become law. One senior Democratic aide noted that H.R. 2 received zero votes from House Democrats, making the bill likely a non-starter on their side.

  • But Republicans have hope that by unifying their party around a single proposal, they can come into negotiations with Senate Democrats with greater leverage.

What's next: Republican leaders hope to put the bill on the floor this week and are trying to sell it to House Republicans on an 8 p.m. ET conference call.

  • Federal funding is set to run out on Sept. 30, at which point, without a continuing resolution, the government will shut down.

Go deeper: Multitude of health programs with Sept. 30 deadlines

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from Rep. Marc Molinaro and more context.

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