WASHINGTON — Key factions of the House Republican Conference reached a tentative agreement Sunday to keep the government funded temporarily and avert a shutdown scheduled for the end of the month, pairing it with a conservative border security measure, multiple GOP sources with knowledge of the agreement said.
House Republicans released a bill after the far-right Freedom Caucus and the center-right Main Street Caucus reached a tentative agreement, the sources said. The deal, which would keep the government funded through Oct. 31 but includes cuts to domestic spending, is expected to pave the way to pass a defense spending bill this week that has been tied up in the standoff between Republican leadership and the far right.
If the legislation passes the House, it would resolve one internal problem for Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., while creating a new one. The controversial immigration provisions and reduced spending levels make it all but guaranteed to die in the Democratic-led Senate, meaning it could do more to hasten a shutdown at the end of September than prevent one.
The bill would cut domestic spending by 8% with exceptions for the military and veterans funding.
It includes most of the Secure the Border Act of 2023, a wish list of immigration provisions for GOP hard-liners, with the exception of provisions requiring employers to use E-Verify to check immigration status. The legislation has been a big priority for Freedom Caucus members. And while it passed the House in May, the Senate has ignored it.
Notably, the temporary government funding legislation doesn't mention Ukraine aid or disaster relief, two priorities for the White House and many lawmakers in both parties.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, trashed the bill as “extreme” in a statement, accusing House Republicans of trying to “cut funding to the National Institutes of Health including funding for cancer research, defund the police, and decrease resources to important allies like Ukraine and Israel,” instead of “working on bipartisan solution[s] that could be enacted.”
She added that “it is time to end the charade and to get to work.”
The lawmakers named on the bill are Reps. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., Scott Perry, R-Pa., Stephanie Bice, R-Okla., Chip Roy, R-Texas, and Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D.
House Republicans, who have a slim majority, discussed the measure on a call at 8 p.m. ET Sunday.
It's unclear whether the bill will get enough votes to pass the House. Without Democratic support, McCarthy can afford no more than four defections.
Rep. Dan Bishop, R-N.C., quickly came out against it.
Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, said Sunday evening after the bill was released: “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.”
Earlier in the day, McCarthy urged his colleagues to avert a shutdown in an appearance on Fox News.
“A shutdown would only give strength to the Democrats,” he said. “It would give the power to Biden. It wouldn’t pay our troops. It wouldn’t pay our border agents. More people would be coming across. I actually want to achieve something.”
Perry, the Freedom Caucus chair, said in a statement Sunday night: “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.”