Conservatives compare Johnson's bipartisan spending deal to what led to McCarthy ousting

The top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee said she opposes the IRS budget reductions in the spending deal, while some Republicans are complaining about giving away too much.

Published: January 8, 2024 11:00pm

Updated: January 9, 2024 10:28am

Conservatives are comparing House Speaker Mike Johnson’s bipartisan spending deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to the one that led to the ousting of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

The spending agreement sets a top line for domestic and military spending through September 2024 at $1.59 trillion, which reflects the parameters of the Financial Responsibility Act. The FRA was the result of a deal McCarthy had reached with President Biden.

Charlie Kirk of Turning Point USA, rejected Johnson’s characterization of the deal as “the most favorable budget agreement” that Republicans have achieved in more than 10 years.

“No surprise, the outcome is a big disappointment for the right. The spending figures are $886 billion for defense spending and $704 billion for discretionary non-defense spending, plus a 'side deal' for another $69 billion in non-defense spending. So really, it’s $773 billion in non-defense spending, but the press is reporting it as $704 billion plus a 'side deal,' for some reason," he wrote on X on Monday.

“So, in return for this spending, we get…a $10 billion cut to the $80 billion the House gave to the IRS two years ago.”

What’s missing, Kirk continued, are provisions to “secure the border,” which he said is a “total meltdown” right now.

“This is basically the same deal conservatives were so disappointed in last summer that they fired Kevin McCarthy for. Four months later and we’re back where we started,” Kirk said.

David Horowitz, a senior editor at The Blaze, said the spending deal solidifies the "debt bomb" the U.S. is facing as it climbs to $35 trillion.

"You can swap out the leadership of the Republican Congress, but some things never change. They forge the same deals with the same talking points every single time," Horowitz wrote.

Under McCarthy, the GOP-led House passed a 45-day temporary continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown on Oct. 1. 

At the time, House conservatives objected to the CR, which received votes from both Republicans and Democrats to pass the House and Senate. McCarthy was ousted as speaker on Oct. 3 after Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., introduced a motion to vacate the chair. The resolution passed the House with a small amount of GOP votes and votes from all Democrats.

Gaetz's office did not respond to a request for comment on the latest spending deal before publication.

Under his successor, House Speaker Mike Johnson, the House passed a “laddered” CR with a final funding deadline of February 2, 2024. Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, and other House conservatives criticized Johnson’s approach to the temporary spending bill, saying it continues current federal spending and doesn’t reduce the deficit.

"No one campaigned on the status quo," Davidson told reporters. "No one campaigned on sustaining the spending levels or policies that have been implemented by Biden, Schumer and Pelosi and that's what this does until January and February but it really does worse."

Todd Starnes of Newsmax said that the House Freedom Caucus owes McCarthy an apology given the Johnson and Schumer spending deal. "Based on the spending bill Speaker Johnson is working out with the WH, the GOP owes Kevin McCarthy an apology," he wrote on X, tagging the conservative House Freedom Caucus account.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., said she is going to vote against the spending deal.

"I am a NO to the Johnson Schumer budget deal. This $1.6 Trillion dollar budget agreement does nothing to secure the border, stop the invasion, or stop the weaponized government targeting Biden’s political enemies and innocent Americans," she wrote on X. "So much for the power of the purse!"

Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, said he opposes the agreement as well. "Republicans agreeing to spending levels $69 billion higher than last summer's debt ceiling 'deal', with no significant policy wins is nothing but another loss for America. At some point, having the House majority has to matter. Stop funding this spending with an open border!" Good wrote on X.

The top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee said she opposes the IRS budget reductions in the spending deal.

"House Republicans wasted the entire first extension of federal funding, and most of the second, arguing over 2024 funding levels they agreed to last June," said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn. "Today’s announcement adheres to the $1.659 trillion total they previously agreed to and voted for. I am infuriated that it includes cuts to the Internal Revenue Service that only benefit tax cheats and cuts to COVID and public health funds – cuts I opposed. Democrats will not accept any Republican poison pill policy changes."

As more Democrats and conservative Republicans speak out against the spending bill, its final passage becomes uncertain. The full legislative language of the deal has not yet been released publicly. 

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