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House Speaker Johnson sticks with $1.6T government funding deal

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) announced Friday that he was sticking with a $1.66 trillion spending deal to avert a government shutdown next week, earning him swift blowback from conservative Republican lawmakers who said they will vote against it.

“Our topline agreement remains. We are getting our next steps together, and we are working toward a robust appropriations process. So stay tuned for all that development,” Johnson told reporters on Capitol Hill.

“The topline agreement includes hard-won concessions to cut more — billions, as you know, from the IRS giveaway and the COVID-era slush funds,” he went on, mentioning other “accounting gimmicks” from last year’s debt ceiling bill negotiated by his predecessor, former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

“It brings Congress much closer to regular order, which is our big commitment here,” Johnson added, reaffirming a return to the typical, 12-bill appropriations process for funding the federal government.

If passed, the continuing resolution will fund the government until the end of the 2024 fiscal year on Sept. 30, with $888 billion for the US defense budget and $704 billion in non-defense discretionary spending.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) announced Friday that he was sticking with a $1.66 trillion spending deal, earning him swift blowback from conservative Republican lawmakers. AP
The Speaker celebrated the topline agreement between his office and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) over the past week — but hardline GOP members wanted deeper cuts. AP

But another $69 billion will be appropriated for the discretionary spending as part of a side deal McCarthy made with President Biden for the 2023 debt ceiling measure, the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

That bill, which included $16 billion in IRS and COVID relief cuts, also locked in a 1% reduction in all non-defense spending and other funding caps if separate appropriations are not passed by April 30, 2024.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), who heavily supported that provision, urged his House Republican colleagues in a Thursday post on X to not “override” the legislation, which would trigger those 1% cuts for a full year.

Johnson assured lawmakers that other “accounting gimmicks” had been axed in the topline deal after being locked into last year’s debt ceiling bill negotiated by former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). AP

The last time Congress passed all appropriations bills before a funding deadline was in 1996. The government will reach its first fiscal cliff on Jan. 19 and its second on Feb. 2.

Johnson expressed openness to a stopgap funding bill until Feb. 9, CNN reported.

The House Speaker has celebrated the topline agreement between his office and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) over the past week — but hardline GOP members fumed that deeper spending cuts weren’t made.

“Defense hawks continue to run the swamp. That’s what killed Kevin. That’s what’s killing Mike,” said Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus who hasn’t ruled out vacating the speaker.

“Defense hawks continue to run the swamp. That’s what killed Kevin. That’s what’s killing Mike,” said Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. REUTERS

“This isn’t the end of this fight — we weren’t given the majority to spend higher than [House Speaker emerita] Nancy Pelosi.”

Former Freedom Caucus Chairman Scott Perry (R-Pa.) echoed the criticism in a video statement posted to X, calling out “certain folks” for “putting special interests above the Nation.”

“This doesn’t do anything to fix the border; this doesn’t do anything to slow down the cost of living increases that you’re dealing with every day,” Perry said. “I won’t be voting for this, I guarantee you that, if this is the final result.”

One Republican aide told The Post that Johnson is not expected to face the same fate as deposed former Speaker Kevin McCarthy given “all of the turmoil it caused last time.” Getty Images

In a Dec. 29 statement, the Freedom Caucus warned that the nation’s debt “will exceed $36 trillion” by the end of 2024, with an annual interest to service that debt amounting to nearly $1 trillion.

Caucus members like Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) gathered in Johnson’s office on Thursday to ask him to abandon the government funding bill after dismissing some of the fiscal wins he cited in the deal as “typical Washington math.”

McCarthy was ousted by eight Republicans and House Democrats on Oct. 3 after passing a similar measure on a bipartisan basis to avert a government shutdown, with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) leading the motion to vacate.

Caucus members like Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) met in Johnson’s office Thursday to ask him to abandon the funding bill, dismissing some of the fiscal wins he cited as “Washington math.” CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The removal kicked off a three-week search for a new House speaker, as GOP members nominated three successive candidates who each failed in floor votes before unanimously electing Johnson to lead their conference.

One Republican aide told The Post that Johnson is not expected to face the same fate given “all of the turmoil it caused last time.”

Schumer has already announced the Senate will vote on Tuesday for the funding measure and bashed House Republicans in his floor speech the day before for trying to “bully” their speaker into a partial shutdown.

That continuing resolution is likely to pass the House, albeit with a similar number of “no” votes from members who opposed the funding bill brought by McCarthy last September, the GOP aide added.

“House Republicans voted for an agreement in May. Speaker Johnson reaffirmed it on Sunday and again this morning,” White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates said Friday. “We have an agreement and Republicans need to keep their word and stop trying to shut down the government.”

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Written by SaleemBaloch

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