Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) reportedly came to a government funding deal with Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) over the weekend.
When the deal was first reported, it was considered a big win for Johnson to get this taken care of before the government would be forced to shut down. However, members of the Freedom Caucus are now reacting, and Johnson’s “win” may wind up being short-lived.
Johnson announced the deal in a “dear colleague letter” to members of Congress. It has a top line number of $1.59 trillion, which was a concession to Democrats. The bill reportedly had $888 billion for Defense spending and $704 billion for non-defense discretionary spending. Johnson wrote:
“The agreement today achieves key modifications to the June framework that will secure more than $16 billion in additional spending cuts to offset the discretionary spending levels.”
Leading the charge against the legislation was Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), who posted on X:
“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.”
The Freedom Caucus added:
"It’s even worse than we thought. Don’t believe the spin. Once you break through typical Washington math, the true total programmatic spending level is $1.658 trillion — not $1.59 trillion."
Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) both stated that they were against the deal. Burchett added:
"I'm currently a no. I'd like to see some real cuts…and maybe cut back on all the…spending that we've been doing. And until we do that, we are we are falling off a fiscal cliff."
It was important for Johnson to get this deal done, so that is a win on his end, but it may have come at a cost because the comments from the caucus are not good. When Democrats are more excited about the deal than your own caucus, and when it appears you caved in some key areas, this is just more of business as usual in DC.
Matters were made worse after Schumer and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) took a victory lap, stating:
“We have made clear to Speaker Mike Johnson that Democrats will not support including poison pill policy changes in any of the twelve appropriations bills put before the Congress.
“By securing the $772.7 billion for non-defense discretionary funding, we can protect key domestic priorities like veterans benefits, health care and nutrition assistance from the draconian cuts sought by right-wing extremists.”
It makes Johnson look weak, and the Freedom Caucus is not going to put up with it, which means you will have more Democrats voting to pass this legislation than Republicans, which is the same situation that resulted in a motion to vacate being made against McCarthy. At this point, Johnson is on life support to keep that gavel.