A proposed bill backed by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to fund defense spending in the next fiscal year went down to defeat Tuesday, a casualty in a House of Representatives where efforts to pass a budget and avoid a government shutdown are colliding with fierce conservative opposition to spending increases.
Republican Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina is one of five members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus who opposed a procedural motion, known as a “rule,” to get the defense bill to the House floor. With 11 days left until the government runs out of authorization to spend money at the end of the fiscal year, Norman said, a shutdown is likely.
“I do not” see a way to prevent it, Norman said, according to NBC.
The vote put the five conservatives in the unusual position of being on the same side as House Democrats. All 209 House Democrats who were present voted against the rule’s passage, according to Axios.
“You think it’s fun for me to vote against the rule?” Norman asked Tuesday, according to Reuters, “But I’m also unwilling to continue as we’ve done and have unlimited spending.”
House votes 212-214 to reject the rule for the Defense spending bill.
This means the House cannot debate or vote on passage of the Defense appropriations bill.
Rs voting no:
— Jennifer Shutt (@JenniferShutt) September 19, 2023
Norman, who has been in the House since 2017, said he wanted more details about spending before he starts voting for budget bills McCarthy is seeking to pass.
“I want to have real numbers. I don’t want smoke and mirrors,” Norman said, according to Axios.
Lack of overall numbers was also cited by Republican Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, who along with Republican Reps. Dan Bishop of North Carolina, Ken Buck of Colorado, and Matt Rosendale of Montana voted against bringing the bill to the floor. As a result, the procedural vote to bring the bill to the floor for a vote failed 214-212.
“There are a lot of ‘no’ votes in that room. I don’t know how they will get to 218,” Republican Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina said after a GOP conference huddle, CNN reported. “Without a deal with Democrats, I don’t see it passing. … It is going to be a long two weeks.”
Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania noted that whatever the House passes, it is only a starting point because the final budget needs the approval of the Democrat-majority Senate and President Joe Biden.
“This is a proposal. I speak for myself. It doesn’t mean that I love it, but I am working with my colleagues to secure one of two paths. The one path is where we offer something and the American people can see what we stand for. The other path is, quite honestly, accepting whatever the Senate sends us,” Perry said.
“You are not going to get every single thing that you want. But if you don’t do something, you aren’t going to get anything.”
We’re approaching $2 trillion in deficits for this year alone, on top of a $33 trillion national debt. I’m simply not willing to continue to spend this country into oblivion. pic.twitter.com/5a9CQryYma
— Rep. Ralph Norman (@RepRalphNorman) September 18, 2023
But Norman said kicking the fight down the road resolves nothing.
“I don’t know what 30 days is going to give us,” he said, according to Axios.
“Will it take a couple weeks of shutdown? Probably so. That’s a fight we need to be willing to have right now. The odds of not having a shutdown are slim to none.”
According to NBC, the goal for the Republicans fighting passage of the budget bills is to bring non-defense discretionary spending down to pre-pandemic levels.
“It’s a failure to lead on behalf of the speaker for us to not have already done it. He has shown no determination to do that. And he has not led the conference to that effect. And that’s why we haven’t passed our bills,” said Republican Rep. Bob Good of Virginia, according to NBC.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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