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Freedom Caucus Backs Stop-Gap Government Funding Bill

The Associated Press
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
SEAN MORAN

The Freedom Caucus backed the House leadership’s new spending bill that will fund the government until March 23, hoping to avoid another government shutdown.

The House Freedom Caucus released a statement on Monday night, saying, “The House Freedom Caucus supports the House Republican plan to pass a CR to March 23 that includes full funding for the military and community health centers.”

The House stop-gap funding bill would fund the government until March 23 and provide one year of funding for the Defense Department. The spending bill will also allow the Energy Department to make sales of the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve, finance community health centers for two years.

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) said, “Knowing my members the way I do, I think we’re in good shape to be able to pass it with Republican-only votes.”

The government will shut down on Friday if the government fails to pass another spending bill on Friday.

Rep. Bil Huizenga (R-MI) said argued that adding defense funding remains the only way to to get enough Republican votes to pass through the House without Democratic support.

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,” Huizenga said.

Republicans will have trouble trying to pass a stop-gap funding bill through the Senate; Democrats want to match increases in non-defense and defense spending for the year. Republicans control Congress’ upper chamber with 51 members and need nine Democrats to back any government spending bill.

The future spending remains less contentious than the previous spending standoff, as Democrats shut down the government for three days to force Republicans to include a solution to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) illegal aliens in the spending battle.

This spending bill will not address the DACA aliens, as Republicans and Democrats have agreed to address immigration reform in separate legislation.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) argued recently that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) did not have the “stomach” to continue the “Schumer Shutdown.”

The Senate could remove any long-term defense spending in the stop-gap funding bill. Meadows told reporters that the Senate decides to remove defense spending in the bill, we’ll have to deal with it on Wednesday or Thursday if the bill comes back.”

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