- Congress has until Sept. 30 to avoid a government shutdown through the passage of 12 appropriations bills or a continuing resolution.
- With House Republicans split over how to move forward, several 2024 GOP primary hopefuls offered insight as to how they would handle the spending fight if they were president.
- “During a Mike Pence presidency, we wouldn’t be in this position in the first place. And that’s because, dating back to his time in Congress, Pence has demonstrated time and time again that he’s not afraid to battle against big spenders — even those in his own party,” Rachael Slobodien, spokesperson for the campaign, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Several 2024 Republican presidential candidates have weighed in on the contentious spending fight on Capitol Hill as a government shutdown looms next week.
Congress has until Sept. 30 to either pass 12 appropriations bills or a continuing resolution, but Republican infighting in the House has deterred action to avoid a government shutdown, with members breaking for the weekend Thursday. GOP primary hopefuls offered their opinions as to how or if Congress should continue to fund the government, with some directing House Republicans to follow through on campaign promises and others offering long-term solutions to spending.
“A very important deadline is approaching at the end of the month. Republicans in Congress can and must defund all aspects of Crooked Joe Biden’s weaponized Government that refuses to close the Border, and treats half the Country as Enemies of the State,” former President Donald Trump wrote on Truth Social Wednesday. “This is also the last chance to defund these political prosecutions against me and other Patriots. They failed on the debt limit, but they must not fail now. Use the power of the purse and defend the Country!”
Speaker Kevin McCarthy led the House in passing the Fiscal Responsibility Act to avoid defaulting on the nations debt back in late May. The legislation, negotiated by McCarthy and President Joe Biden, allowed the government to acquire unlimited debt through Jan. 1, 2025, froze non-defense discretionary spending at Fiscal Year 2022 levels and clawed back unspent COVID-19 stimulus funds.
Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley unveiled her economic policy plan Friday, in which she said that Congress shouldn’t get paid if they can’t pass a budget. Fox Business’ Stuart Varney asked Haley Wednesday whom she would blame if the government shuts down, which her campaign pointed the DCNF toward upon request for comment. (RELATED: House Republicans Balk At Temporary Spending Bill)
“I am prepared to blame all of Congress if that happens, because what we expect of them is do your job,” said Haley. “Doing your job is balancing a budget. They don’t do that. Doing your job is spending taxpayer dollars in a way that you’d spend your own. They don’t do that. They’re spending like drunken sailors. Doing your job is paying down the debt because our kids are never going to forgive us for this. Doing your job is getting inflation down and making sure we’re energy dominant and that people can afford homes and rent again. Doing your job is making sure that we can go to the grocery store, buy groceries for our families, and fill up our cars like we need it. Congress has failed, all of them, and they need to fix this.”
If Congress fails to pass a budget, they will fail to get a paycheck. No budget, no pay – that’s a no-brainer. #TheFreedomPlan
— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) September 22, 2023
Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and the moderate Main Street Caucus crafted a continuing resolution (CR) to temporarily fund the government for another month. Though the CR included a near 8% cut to non-defense discretionary spending, the Secure The Border Act and other conservative provisions, many House Republicans immediately opposed the deal to extend government funding.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has weighed in on the spending fight, telling key House Republicans, “I got your back. Keep fighting,” Politico reported Sept. 14. Fox Business host Stuart Varney asked DeSantis Tuesday whether he was supportive of some conservatives not being concerned about a government shutdown, which his campaign pointed the DCNF toward.
“Well, I think they’re pushing forward doing what they said they would do. I would argue the opposite, though, I think it’s the people that want to continue the status quo that are in favor of shutdowns because this excessive debt and spending has shut down the American Dream for so many Americans,” DeSantis said. “Homes are unaffordable, cars are unaffordable, even groceries now. That is a direct result of the behavior of Washington D.C. over these last four or five years with ungodly amounts of debt that they have piled up. So continuing to go in this direction is saying that you want to continue to inflict the pain on the American people. I think they need to stop the spending, and I think they need to do it a better way.”
South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, the only presidential candidate currently serving in Congress, was asked on the campaign trail in New Hampshire Wednesday whether he believed a government shutdown was avoidable in remarks his campaign provided to the DCNF.
“It looks like a tough one to be honest with ya. It’s bringing all the pieces seems to be a very difficult deal. But I know Kevin McCarthy is working on it and we hope to see ourselves having an opportunity to talk about it,” Scott said. “But frankly, now’s the time to be tough as it relates to what’s in the best interest of this country long term. And not just thinking about the current continuing resolution if it doesn’t meet the long-term needs of our country.”
Former Vice President Mike Pence believes that to reel in spending and manage the budget, entitlement reform is necessary. “During a Mike Pence presidency, we wouldn’t be in this position in the first place. And that’s because, dating back to his time in Congress, Pence has demonstrated time and time again that he’s not afraid to battle against big spenders — even those in his own party,” Rachael Slobodien, spokesperson for the campaign, told the DCNF. “Unlike most of the other candidates, Pence is ready to tackle spending and the budget head on by going after entitlement spending.”
The RealClearPolitics average for a 2024 national Republican primary, based on polls conducted between Sept. 6 and Sept. 18, indicates Trump is leading the crowded field by roughly 45 points, followed by DeSantis with 12.7%, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy with 8.1%, Haley with 4.9% and Pence with 4.1%. Scott and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are tied with 2.2%, and all other GOP hopefuls received less than 1% support.
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum would leverage his skills as a successful businessman to reduce spending and balance the budget, his campaign said. “This is why America needs a business leader and governor to be the next President,” Lance Trover, communications director for the campaign, told the DCNF. “Instead of lurching from crisis to crisis, Gov. Burgum cut spending by 27% to balance the budget in North Dakota, slashed red tape and enacted the largest tax cut in state history. Now North Dakota’s economy is on fire. As President, Doug will do the same thing for America — eliminate wasteful spending, slash red tape and get the economy booming.”
Conservative radio personality Larry Elder maintains that he would try to amend the Constitution to fix government spending. “Under an Elder presidency, I would push for an amendment to set spending to a fixed percentage of GDP,” Elder told the DCNF. “As for funding the current obligations to the ‘entitlements,’ the federal government is the largest landowner in America. Land and other government assets, like bridges, dams, Amtrak, etc., can be sold or leased to private parties. The revenue would be used to reduce government debt. The amendment to the Constitution would ensure that we don’t re-bloat.”
Trump, Ramaswamy, Christie, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and former Texas Rep. Will Hurd did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s requests for comment.
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