House Speaker Mike Johnson Faces GOP Hardliners Over Spending Deal

Mason Riverwind

Updated Thursday, January 11, 2024 at 1:20 PM CDT

House Speaker Mike Johnson Faces GOP Hardliners Over Spending Deal

In a recent turn of events, Republican U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson has encountered stiff opposition from the hardline conservatives within his own party. Members of the House Freedom Caucus, led by Representative Bob Good, have blocked a Republican bill in protest of Johnson's hefty $1.59 trillion spending deal with Democrat Chuck Schumer. This deal, intended to stave off a partial government shutdown, has been sharply criticized by the caucus for failing to secure the border and reduce government spending.

With the fiscal year underway since October 1, bipartisan spending legislation is in negotiation limbo, and the clock is ticking as funding for some federal agencies will dry up by January 19 and others by February 2. The narrow majority that Speaker Johnson holds in the House, a precarious 220-213 split, amplifies the impact of dissent within Republican ranks.

The House recently witnessed a failed motion to debate Republican resolutions, with a vote of 203-216, and 13 Republicans siding with Democrats. Despite the setback, Johnson, sidestepping reporters' questions, showed resilience, stating, "We're leading," and downplayed concerns about his leadership.

Conservative Representatives, including Chip Roy, Bob Good, and Andy Biggs, have voiced their discontent over the current legislative stalemate and the spending agreement. This group of hardline Republicans has a track record of disruption, having previously thrown the House floor into chaos in June over a debt ceiling deal and having contributed to the ousting of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy after a bipartisan stopgap measure that avoided a government shutdown.

Senate Republicans, aware of the looming financial crunch, have conveyed the need for a short-term funding measure to keep the federal government functioning. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell admits the necessity of a continuing resolution (CR) to dodge a shutdown. Meanwhile, Johnson is considering a parliamentary strategy to bypass the hardliners and has not dismissed the possibility of a short-term funding bill.

Before his speakership, Johnson consistently voted against CRs and supported a "laddered CR" approach with two crucial deadlines. His recent appearance on Fox News highlighted his aversion to CRs but also hinted at a reluctant acceptance of another temporary deal due to pressure from hard-right conservatives.

The Freedom Caucus's Rep. Byron Donalds has slammed the fiscal year 2024 spending deal that Johnson negotiated with Democrats, objecting to the rescinding of $6.1 billion in unutilized Covid funds and the acceleration of $10 billion in cuts to IRS money from Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act. Senate Appropriations Chair Patty Murray and ranking member Sen. Susan Collins also see the urgency for a short-term funding bill to avert a government shutdown, with Collins hinting that an agreement on spending allocations for federal agencies might be forthcoming.

Senate Minority Whip John Thune has suggested that a CR could extend funding into March, given the unlikelihood of passing the first four appropriations bills by January 19. In the midst of these discussions, California State Sen. Brian Jones has weighed in on immigration issues, particularly the ending of Title 42.

On another front, Sen. Bill Cassidy has introduced the Protect Medicaid Act, aiming to prevent federal funds from being used for state Medicaid benefits for noncitizens. This act would require states like California, which offers Medicaid benefits to undocumented immigrants through programs like Medi-Cal, to fully cover the costs if they opt to extend these benefits. Federal law currently prohibits illegal immigrants from receiving Medicaid benefits, but some states bypass this using state funds.

The proposed legislation emerges from concerns that offering Medicaid to immigrants might encourage illegal immigration and increase state debt. As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, Cassidy's act involves the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General, which is investigating the separation of federal and state funds in states providing Medicaid services to undocumented individuals. The review will assess if states exploit loopholes to leverage federal dollars and if this benefits illegal immigrants, potentially affecting drug prices for American citizens.

In California, nearly 700,000 illegal immigrants ages 26 to 49 are eligible for healthcare services, costing taxpayers an estimated $3.1 billion. Governor Gavin Newsom has announced an expansion of health care coverage to more undocumented individuals, adding to the 1.1 million already in the Medi-Cal system. With over one-third of California's 39 million residents enrolled in Medi-Cal, which also covers transgender procedures, the strain on the state's healthcare system is intensifying.

Amidst these legislative and healthcare debates, December saw a record-breaking 302,000 migrants attempting to cross the U.S. southern border, underscoring the urgency of addressing the immigration and spending crises facing the nation.

Conservative Bias:

Folks, what we have here is a classic case of GOP betrayal and spinelessness, with Speaker Mike Johnson kowtowing to the whims of the radical left in a disastrous $1.59 trillion spending spree. This deal, concocted with the liberal puppet master Chuck Schumer, is an affront to every hardworking American taxpayer. Instead of holding the line against the Democrats' reckless spending and securing our borders, Johnson has caved, jeopardizing our national security and fiscal sanity. It's the Freedom Caucus, the true patriots like Bob Good, Chip Roy, and Andy Biggs, who are standing up for what's right, fighting against this liberal agenda that's pushing us towards a socialist abyss. And what's this nonsense about rescinding Covid funds and cutting money to rein in the IRS? It's clear the Democrats are hell-bent on bankrupting America while opening the floodgates to illegal immigration, as evidenced by the ludicrous policies in California that are s****** the lifeblood out of honest Americans' wallets. If we don't put a stop to this madness, we'll be signing the death warrant of the American Dream.

Liberal Bias:

In the latest saga of Republican obstructionism, Speaker Mike Johnson is facing a mutiny from the extremist faction of his party, jeopardizing the stability of our government with their reckless and ideological opposition to a critical spending deal. These hardline conservatives, including the likes of Bob Good and Chip Roy, are willing to throw the country into chaos over their fanatical devotion to austerity and xenophobia. They're blocking a necessary spending deal, already a compromise, that's vital to keep our government running and services flowing to the American people. And let's talk about the ludicrous Protect Medicaid Act, a thinly veiled attempt to demonize immigrants and distract from the GOP's failure to provide basic healthcare to all. It's a clear message to the most vulnerable among us: "You don't matter." Meanwhile, in California, Republicans are up in arms over providing healthcare to undocumented immigrants, despite it being a humane and economically sound policy. The GOP's cruel immigration stance is laid bare as they prioritize their nativist agenda over the well-being of human beings, ignoring the fact that these individuals contribute immensely to our society. This is the reality of the Republican Party today: a party that places ideology over the welfare of the nation, and division over unity.

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