GOP leaders in Congress considering year-long spending bill before new Congress begins

Conservatives are arguing that a temporary funding bill would give the GOP-led House an opportunity to pass GOP spending priorities next year.

Updated: December 3, 2022 - 11:14pm

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Republican leaders are considering supporting a year-long federal spending bill before the end of the year, potentially complicating their effort to reduce federal spending next year — a pledge the party ran on during the midterm election campaign that led to a GOP majority House.

Congressional leaders of both parties are currently negotiating a year-long spending bill rather than another temporary continuing resolution (CR).

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell met with President Biden and Democratic congressional leaders this week at the White House.

"I'm not going to sit back and let some bill pass in the middle of the night," McCarthy said after the meeting. "I'm not going to let them continue to do this runaway spending. I'm not going to let them continue to ignore the challenges that we have in America when it comes to our energy policy, our border policy, or what we're doing in our military kicking men and women out" for refusing the COVID vaccine. 

"If we can't get common sense in appropriation bills, then yes, we will support a CR and fix this come January," added McCarthy, the odds-on favorite to be elected speaker of the House in the new Congress.

McConnell characterized the choice between a CR and a year-long appropriations bill as a "difficult" one.

"If you're interested in reducing spending, probably the best way to do that would be a one-year CR," McConnell said on Tuesday. "If, on the other hand, you're concerned about the defense of our country and the funding of the Ukraine war, you're somewhat hesitant to go in that direction. I have members in a variety of different positions on this."

Some conservative Republicans are not convinced that passing a year-long spending bill before the new Congress begins is the best route.

When rolling out of the House GOP's agenda in September, McCarthy said the first order of business in a GOP-led House would be to use the $80 billion the Democratic Congress passed for the hiring of up to 87,000 IRS employees for border security instead. Stopping the $80 billion for the IRS jobs is an effort that has strong support among Republicans, including Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz.

"We're getting ready to have a Republican Congress and that Republican Congress ought to set its priorities for spending, and if a handful of Senate Republicans decide their outgoing act is to rubber-stamp Nancy Pelosi's spending priorities, that would be a gross abdication of responsibility and also an affront to the voters who just voted to give Republicans a majority in the House," Cruz said, according to The Hill.