Republicans Walk Back Promise of Individual Spending Bills

By Jerry McConway, updated on February 23, 2024

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) could have a serious problem on his hands very soon.

It appears that House leadership has decided to abandon the plan of individual spending bills, and is now ready to put multi-bill packages on the floor to help speed up budgeting legislation.

Talking Points…
- Promise of individual spending bills
- GOP leadership walks it back
- Analysis

Promising Individual Spending Bills

We need to go back to the very short period when Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was the Speaker of the House. As part of McCarthy's deal to become Speaker, an agreement was made that from now on, the House would break down spending bills to individual subjects to eliminate wasteful spending from an omnibus deal.

This led to a confrontation with Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who was livid that the House would not address the possibility of a full government shutdown and wanted to force through individual spending bills rather than an omnibus bill. Schumer, at the time, stated:

"All last week, Speaker McCarthy, instead of focusing on bipartisanship, catered to the hard right and has nothing —  nothing — to show for it.

"And now the speaker will put on the floor hard-right appropriations bills that have nothing to do with avoiding a shutdown."

GOP Leadership Walks Back Promise

Fast forward to this week, where the clock is again ticking for a shutdown that Speaker Johnson wants to avoid, and GOP House leadership is ready to abandon the plan for single-issue legislation. While it does not appear they have gone all the way to an omnibus bill, they are now willing to pass three or four bills in place of the 12 bills that were initially discussed.

Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN) is now blaming the Senate for not being willing to pass single-issue legislation. He is also trying to soften the blow, describing this legislation as "minibuses." He stated:

"Due to the Schumer Senate's inability to pass individual appropriations bills and the tight timeline we're working with, all options are on the table including minibus appropriations bills.

"Thanks to Speaker Johnson's leadership, the days of massive omnibus bills are behind us."

Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) expressed his disappointment, as well as that of some of the other members of the House, at the inability to get this done as 12 different spending bills. He stated:

"What's really still disheartening is the way the Senate has dragged out the appropriations process. It's really disheartening to watch how Washington spends the people's money, because there's no real effort to have real negotiations early and take care of your business in an orderly fashion.

"They try to run everything up to the end of the clock and force you into bad deals."

Analysis

This has always been a problem in DC, as Rep. Donalds mentioned. Everything gets put off until the last second as a negotiation tactic, and then whatever was promised ends up falling to the wayside just so they can get something passed in time to keep the government operational.

So what we are going to end up having is somewhere between two to four spending bills, which is better than one, but it is still not what we were promised. Additionally, the larger the bills, even if they only consist of anywhere from two to four spending areas, the more room for politicians to sneak in additional spending that has nothing at all to do with the proposed legislation.

If this country is going to start working its way out of debt, we need to stop this business-as-usual attitude in DC. This should be a topic that is discussed in every state with every Senator and Congressman running for office. If they are unwilling to hold the line, it is up to the voters to remove them from office and replace them with someone who will deliver what was promised.

About Jerry McConway

Jerry McConway is an independent political author and investigator who lives in Dallas, Texas. He has spent years building a strong following of readers who know that he will write what he believes is true, even if it means criticizing politicians his followers support. His readers have come to expect his integrity.

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