A group of House Republicans have released a draft bill to fund the government after weekend negotiations to avoid a shutdown.
The bill, entitled the “Continuing Appropriations and Border Security Enhancement Act, 2024,” was published and introduced in the House by Republican Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida as a compromise between the House Freedom Caucus and the Main Street Caucus — two groups of conservative and moderate GOP lawmakers, respectively. The bill would keep the government funded at 2023 reduced by 8.1285%, which would authorize $1.59 trillion of spending until Oct. 31 of this year. (RELATED: House Freedom Caucus Throws Wrench Into Congress’ Government Spending Fight)
“This Act shall be implemented so that only the most limited funding action of that permitted in the Act shall be taken in order to provide for [the] continuation of projects and activities,” the bill reads in section 110. Most of the bill, however, involves conservative border security legislation that was included in the Secure the Border Act of 2023, which the House passed in May.
Those border-related provisions — such as constructing a wall along the southern border that was begun by the Trump administration, prohibiting asylum to aliens who enter the country legally and reforming rules regarding the housing of migrant children — have been strongly opposed by congressional Democrats, with the Senate having refused to take up the Secure the Border Act. It is unlikely that a bill with those provisions will be passed by the Senate or signed by President Joe Biden, which is required before 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 30 to avoid a government shutdown.
The bill also defunds the “CBP One” mobile application that has been used by migrants to schedule appointments with U.S. Customs and Border Protection ahead of time before they arrive at the southern border. It would also cut off public funding to non-profit organizations that provide illegal immigrants with legal services in the United States.
Along with Donalds, Republican Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, Rep. Dusty Johnson of South Dakota, the chairman of the Main Street Caucus, Rep. Stephanie Bice of Oklahoma and Rep. Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota, a member of the Republican Governance Group, were listed as co-sponsors of the bill.
The bill has provoked divided reactions from House Republicans. Republican Rep. Dan Bishop of North Carolina, a retiring member of the Freedom Caucus, came out against the bill, writing “No CR. Pass the damn [appropriations] bills. Roll back the crazy bureaucracy to pre-COVID levels. Now,” on Twitter, now known as X.
“It’s crystal clear a Gov’t shutdown is coming. I represent 66% of the Texas-Mexico border – a hollow Continuing Resolution built to win a messaging battle does nothing to keep America safe,” wrote Republican Rep. Tony Gonzales of Texas, whose district has the largest share of the U.S. border with Mexico.
“If the House thinks adding HR2 which we DIRELY NEEDED sweetens the deal for me to vote clearance to add more Ukraine funding for the Senate neocon/neolibs to not oppose. I’m a HARD NO!” wrote Republican Rep. Cory Mills of Florida. The limited reauthorization of 2023 appropriations funding means that some public money may be directed to Ukraine.
Donalds defended the bill on Twitter, writing that “there is NO Ukraine $$$.” He added that “Congress needs more time to do the necessary spending cuts and reforms to stop the weaponization of our government and save our country.”
Perry defended the bill as acceptable to the Freedom Caucus, which has frequently disagreed with the House Republican leadership on ideological issues and strategy. “HFC Members have worked over the weekend with the Main Street Caucus on a path forward to fund the government and secure America’s border. We now have a framework for our colleagues across the House Republican Conference,” he wrote.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has been contacted with a request for comment.
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