Some House Republicans are pushing back on former President Trump’s criticism of a recent plan the conference hatched to avert a government shutdown that already seems to be in trouble.
“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,” Trump wrote on social media shortly after news broke of the plan.
“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!” the former president continued.
Some House Republicans have vowed to try to use the appropriations process to reduce funding for agencies like the Justice Department and the FBI, accusing the federal government of “weaponization” them in light of the former president’s legal woes.
But while many House Republicans agree with the president’s sentiment — and have supported him throughout his four indictments — they also say they stand behind the framework deal.
“He would’ve made the same call,” conservative Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) said Thursday, arguing “this will put us in a position to use leverage that he’s talking about.”
Others seemed to brush off the former president’s recent call, as internal negotiations in the GOP conference heat up just days from a looming shutdown deadline.
“He’s not here we are. We need to deal with our business in this house,” moderate Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio) said Thursday. “And the mechanics of it are such that the only way we can continue on is to do a CR because we’re not going to be able to get all the appropriations bills passed by the end of the month.”
“This conference has focused on trying to get our appropriations bills done that we have crafted in the appropriations process,” Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.) said. Asked about the impact the president has amid GOP spending talks, the congressman added, “I think House Republicans are focused on the business of House Republicans.”
Republicans appeared to hit a breakthrough in talks late Wednesday as members voiced optimism about the conference progressing toward a deal to prevent the first government funding lapse in years. But by Thursday enough conservatives had lined up against the proposal to sink it.
The partisan plan, which is considered dead on arrival in the upper chamber, called for spending cuts and changes to border policy, while kicking the Sept. 30 shutdown deadline through next month to allow time for negotiators to hash out a larger deal on how to fund the government for fiscal year 2024.
Discussing Trump’s comments on Thursday, Rep. Ben Cline (R-Va.), who serves on the Appropriations Committee, said he thinks the conference is “working to remove the woke and weaponized government from the DOJ.”
“And as a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on CJS, I’m acutely aware of the need to do that,” he said, referring to the subcomittee that oversees funding for the DOJ among other agencies.
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