In a stunning turn of events, the Republican-majority House abruptly ceased legislative activities on Wednesday, making an early departure for the Thanksgiving recess without making significant progress on long-term spending bills.
A short-term funding bill was approved to avoid a government shutdown, but the inability to progress with debates on long-term financial legislation has sparked frustration among GOP lawmakers.
The situation began on Tuesday when a bipartisan stopgap spending bill was passed to prevent an imminent government shutdown. The following day, however, attempts to debate long-term spending measures, such as a 2024 appropriations bill and a bill to freeze Iranian funds, were stymied.
Ironically, the hurdle came from within the Republican camp. Nineteen Republicans sided with Democrats to block consideration of the legislation. This unexpected blockade has sent shockwaves through the legislative corridors, revealing a simmering discontent among some GOP lawmakers.
Rep. Chip Roy voiced his disappointment with the lack of significant legislative accomplishments thus far, asking for just "one thing" the GOP majority has done that he can campaign on. Other Republican lawmakers, including the chair of the Freedom Caucus, echoed this frustration.
Speaker Mike Johnson has faced his share of challenges in advancing these spending bills. His efforts to manage the legislative agenda have been met with setbacks, casting a shadow over the GOP's legislative performance.
The House did manage to pass a bill two weeks ago that cuts IRS funding to pay for aid to Israel, a move opposed by the White House. But the overall legislative scorecard paints a worrying picture for the GOP, raising questions about its ability to deliver on its promises.
Let's hear from Rep. Chip Roy, who passionately expressed his concerns:
"I want my Republican colleagues to give me one thing — one — that I can go campaign on and say we did. One! Come explain to me one meaningful, significant thing the Republican majority has done.”
Speaker Johnson defended the stopgap bill as a necessary step to put the GOP in the best position for "conservative victories." Yet, the short-term nature of this solution does little to quell the growing frustration among some GOP lawmakers.
The Senate is expected to vote on this short-term funding bill soon. However, the future of long-term spending measures remains uncertain, casting a shadow over the legislative calendar and raising questions about the GOP's ability to deliver on key financial legislation.
Rep. Scott Perry expressed his dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs in Congress:
"We’re done with the failure theater here in Congress — we’re not just going to pass bills that don’t address the problems that Americans face."
Unable to advance the long-term spending measures, the House left early for the Thanksgiving recess. This decision further underscores the GOP's challenges in advancing its legislative agenda.