House Debt Limit

Lawmakers from the conservative House Freedom Caucus group up ahead of a news conference outside the Capitol on Tuesday. Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press

Half a dozen House Republicans struck a deal Sunday to temporarily fund the government with the goal of averting a shutdown at the end of the month. But it’s far from certain that the proposal would unite their fractious conference to send a bill to the Senate, where it is expected to get rejected.

The short-term funding bill, known as a continuing resolution, would keep the government running until Oct. 31 and trigger a 1% cut to current fiscal levels, according to two people familiar with the plan who spoke on the condition of anonymity to outline the parameters of the plan before lawmakers were set to be briefed Sunday evening.

The 1% cut is an average for the budget. The Defense Department and Veterans Affairs would not receive any cuts, while the rest of the government would see an immediate 8% cut until the end of October.

The effort is meant to garner support from hard-right lawmakers who demanded significant cuts to support a short-term funding extension.

The continuing resolution would also include a border security bill House Republicans passed through their narrow ranks earlier this year, except for a divisive policy on E-Verify work requirements.

The deal also includes important provisions on the border that will be added to the Homeland Security appropriations bill – an effort to extract concessions from the Senate on the issue when both chambers eventually negotiate on funding the government for a full fiscal year.


Striking an apparent deal is a significant, albeit small, step for the House Republican conference, which saw itself devolve into chaos last week after its leadership was unable to wrangle enough votes for a Defense Department funding bill or a pathway to fund the government in the short term.

While many involved in the deal are telegraphing that these parameters should ensure that the bill gets the necessary 218 Republican votes to pass, several of the conservative demands are likely to be rejected by the Senate. That would pit both chambers against each other with less than a dozen days to spare to prevent a partial government shutdown.

The proposal was not negotiated by leadership. Instead, six House Republican members from two of the five ideological factions – Reps. Dusty Johnson of South Dakota, Stephanie Bice of Oklahoma and Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota from the pragmatic Main Street Caucus, and Freedom Caucus Reps. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Chip Roy of Texas and Byron Donalds of Florida – met for 2 1/2 hours Wednesday night to hash out parameters of a potential agreement, after far-right lawmakers prevented a floor vote funding the Defense Department until demands from leadership were met.

Lawmakers from the conservative flanks of the conference realized that they needed to find consensus and propose a deal to leadership, who were not involved in crafting the proposal. Negotiations continued for four more days, with all five ideological groups in the conference buying into the plan over the weekend.

While the deal is expected to appease a significant amount of conservatives, including several in the House Freedom Caucus, Republican leaders now face the difficult task of ensuring the bill passes through their razor-thin margins. Given the conservative provisions included in the proposal, Democrats are not expected to help pass the bill.

The first test for leaders will be a vote on a procedural hurdle, known as the rule, which sets parameters for debating the bill on the floor before passage. Members of the Freedom Caucus and lawmakers against House Speaker Kevin McCarthy have previously threatened voting against the rule, which traditionally only passes with the majority party’s votes.

The GOP conference began the year with only five votes to spare but is now down to four after the retirement of Utah Rep. Chris Stewart last week. Further complicating the math is that a few other Republicans are battling illnesses, and two more are at home with newborn children.

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