House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he is not ready to abandon the short-term government funding deal negotiated by members of the House Freedom Caucus and Main Street Caucus, despite warnings from several members conservatives that they would oppose the agreement.
“Have they read it?” One thing I always know is that sometimes they didn’t read it all the way through,” McCarthy told CNN on Monday. “Let them figure out what it is and see where they stand.”
On Sunday, CNN reported that a group of six Republican members – three from the conservative House Freedom Caucus and three from the centrist-leaning Main Street Caucus – worked through the weekend to finalize a tentative agreement on a spending plan in the short term that they hope for. will obtain the support of the entire Republican conference.
McCarthy can only afford to lose four votes on a continuing resolution deal without counting on Democratic votes – which could endanger his presidency. Several members tweeted their opposition to the deal Sunday evening after it was revealed, including Reps. Eli Crane of Arizona, Cory Mills of Florida, Matt Gaetz of Florida and Dan Bishop of North Carolina.
Pressed that this deal still couldn’t pass the Senate even if they got enough votes to pass it in the House, McCarthy responded, “It’s a good thing I like a challenge, because every day will be a challenge. It’s not September 30 yet.
Government funding is set to run out on September 30.
The deal, according to Republican sources familiar with the matter who spoke to CNN on Sunday, would combine a 31-day continuing resolution with a border security package passed by the Republican Party, but without the bill’s provisions on E- Verify, a national immigration status. database.
The short-term spending bill would also impose some spending cuts instead of maintaining government funding at current levels. While the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs would be maintained at their funding levels, other agencies would face a reduction of about 8 percent.
The bill does not include the White House’s request for $40 billion in additional funding for natural disasters and the war in Ukraine, which Senate leaders from both parties want to attach to any temporary funding bill .
On Monday, McCarthy said he plans to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky when he visits the Capitol this week, although he does not plan to have Zelensky speak to the House Republican Conference.
Across the Capitol, leaders of both parties in the Senate have invited the president to a meeting of all senators, as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell push for aid to Ukraine. However, McCarthy told reporters “no” when asked whether aid to Ukraine would be added to government funding legislation in the House.
He also defended his decision not to include additional funding for disaster relief in any funding legislation, arguing that if interim legislation were passed, it would reimburse FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund to the tune of of 20 billion dollars.
“It would go to disasters in those states — Florida, California, Vermont, Hawaii, they would be able to have those resources,” McCarthy said.
Asked if he had spoken with Senate leaders about their efforts to fund the government, McCarthy said he spoke with McConnell late last week, after Senate attempts to advance their version of three appropriations bills ran into a problem when Republican Sen. Ron Johnson. of Wisconsin opposed speeding up the process.
“I spoke to McConnell after the Senate failure last week. I talked to them to see where they were going as well,” he told CNN. “It seems like everyone is in a difficult situation. Nothing is easy.