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Sunday, May 19, 2024 - 10:04 PM


First Published in 1994


Appropriate Demands for Appropriations

Appropriate Demands for Appropriations

All has been quiet in the halls of Congress since Members returned home for August recess. This time is officially called a District Work period and there are still conversations happening with the media and with each other on the upcoming agenda. One particular issue that is time-sensitive and very much in the spotlight is the appropriations process – the annual ritual in which Congress must hammer out just how much of your money the federal government will spend over the upcoming year. Once back in Washington, D.C., the House and Senate will have twelve days to pass twelve appropriations bills or face a government shutdown.

House and Senate lawmakers have struggled over the last several years to pass a full appropriations package that funds government agencies and activities excluding the mandatory spending on entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare.  If Congress fails to pass (and get the President to sign) these bills, then they must resort to ‘continuing resolutions’ (CR) to fund the government at previously passed levels to avoid a shutdown. Sadly, such CRs have become standard operating procedures in recent years. Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY) was so fed up with passing CRs that he fought for a change in the House rules to apply a penalty if Congress does not get its work done on time. If the House does not pass all twelve appropriations bills before January 1st of next year, a two percent decrease in the budget is implemented in all areas of government.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) does not seem to share the same dislike of CRs. He mentioned passing a short-term CR even before the  September 30th deadline to put off the hard decisions and give Congress more time to pass the spending bills.  Despite agreeing to reduce overall spending to pre-pandemic levels, the Speaker seems to be wavering on his commitment. The House Freedom Caucus (HFC) quickly issued a statement promising to oppose any CR that is brought up for a vote. Their press release states:

…we refuse to support any such measure that continues Democrats’ bloated COVID-era spending and simultaneously fails to force the Biden Administration to follow the law and fulfill its most basic responsibilities. Any support for a “clean” Continuing Resolution would be an affirmation of the current FY 2023 spending level grossly increased by the lame-duck December 2022 omnibus spending bill that we all vehemently opposed just seven months ago.

Additionally, they issued four common-sense reforms that must be included in the final package to win conservative support: 

  • The House-passed and Eagle Forum endorsed Secure the Border Act (H.R. 2) must remain in the bill to ensure safe borders.
  • The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)’s targeting of innocent Americans must be stopped.
  • The Pentagon’s “woke” agenda that includes the military funding abortion travel, paying for so-called transition surgeries, and forcing soldiers to get the COVID vaccine must be eliminated.
  • Congress must have the final say in how much money is spent in Ukraine, that is to say, “no blank checks” for unlimited Ukraine funding.

In a Newsmax interview, HFC member Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) stated: 

I’m on the front lines of Texas and we are at war in my state. We got them funding litigation to stop [Governor] Greg Abbott from doing the job that Homeland Security is supposed to do. …we have to do our job to hold the line and secure the border. I think we need a Department of Justice that’s not politicized… and we need a military that’s focused on its mission.

With only a ten-member majority in the House, Speaker McCarthy will have to work with the dozens of HFC members to enact conservative spending limits.

On the other side of the Capitol, the Senate has done more work on their versions of the appropriations bills. By the end of July, they successfully voted all twelve bills out of the Senate Appropriations Committee but failed to bring even one to the Senate floor for a vote. Even though Senate Republicans were able to retain the Hyde Amendment to prevent taxpayer funding of abortion, the bills lack other strong conservative policies due to the Democrat majority.

Eagle Forum’s annual Eagle Council from September 27-30 will be happening at the same time the appropriations fight is raging on Capitol Hill. We cannot let this opportunity go to waste!  We encourage you to sign up for Eagle Council today and make appointments with Members of the House and Senate on September 27th to lobby your elected officials on issues that are most important to you including reigning in government spending and stopping the Biden Administration from funding woke policies. We will kick off this Lobby Day with a briefing from our Washington, D.C. Office staff and give you handouts for your meetings. Join us for Eagle Council 51 to learn how to make your voice heard!


Register Today