The conservative House Freedom Caucus suggests that Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) propose a year-long stopgap funding measure if he cannot meet their demands in negotiations on government spending, just days ahead of a scheduled partial government shutdown.

In a letter sent to Mr. Johnson on Feb. 21, the House Freedom Caucus—which represents roughly three dozen of the 219-212 Republican majority in the House of Representatives—requested an update regarding closed-door spending negotiations with Democrats.

They also expressed their concerns regarding the continued negotiations, saying they fear that text for likely omnibus legislation will be released by Mr. Johnson and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer at the “latest moment before being rushed to the floor for a vote.”

“House Republicans should not be left in the dark on the status of the spending levels and hard-fought policy provisions,” 28 members of the Caucus wrote. “There are MANY other policies and personnel that Congress should not be funding, and a failure to eliminate them will reduce the probability that the appropriations bills will be supported by even a majority of Republicans.”

Lawmakers are currently on a recess and will return to Washington on Feb. 28, leaving them with only a few days to pass spending legislation to partially fund the government before a March deadline.

Funding is due to run out on March 1 for some federal agencies, including the Department of Transportation, while funding for others like the Defense Department, Homeland Security, and the State Department, will expire on March 8.

House Freedom Caucus Demands

Republicans in the Caucus shared a list of policies with Mr. Johnson that they want to see in spending negotiations when Congress returns to session next week.

They include measures that would slash Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ annual salary to $0, remove the Pentagon’s abortion travel policy, defund Planned Parenthood, and defund gender transition surgeries or “gender-affirming” care paid for by taxpayer dollars.

The measures would also block President Joe Biden’s attempts to dismantle, demolish, or remove the Southern border wall, and prohibit funding for the implantation of gun registries and red flag laws.

Republicans in the Caucus said they want to ban funding for “radical Diversity, Equity, Inclusion” (DEI) executive orders and the “bureaucratic offices responsible for promoting DEI and Critical Race Theory training and policies.”

They also want to defund Dr. Anthony Fauci’s “gain of function” research and multiple organizations including the World Health Organization and the World Economic Forum. The lawmakers also want to ban funding for COVID-19 vaccine and mask mandates across the government, among other things.

One-year Funding Resolution Preferable

Concluding their letter to Mr. Johnson, Freedom Caucus members said they would prefer a year-long stopgap spending bill that would automatically trigger a 1 percent government spending cut across the board after April 30 as opposed to the House speaker’s deal with Democrats on individual spending bills, if their demands are not met.

The letter was referring to a section of the 2023 Fiscal Responsibility Act that requires 1 percent cuts across the board if the federal government is funded by a stopgap measure come April 30.

“If we are not going to secure significant policy changes or even keep spending below the caps adopted by bipartisan majorities less than one year ago, why would we proceed when we could instead pass a year-long funding resolution that would save Americans $100 billion in year one,” the Freedom Caucus lawmakers wrote.

Democrats are opposed to the automatic 1 percent funding cut across the board, fearing it could impact government programs and damage military spending.

The letter suggests another government spending showdown is on the horizon and puts Mr. Johnson in a tight position as he continues negotiations, which have been ongoing since November.

There is, however, still the option of another stopgap spending bill in late March or April, Axios reports.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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