Despite Biden Veto Threat, House Freedom Caucus Vows to Rein in Government Spending
The fight on Capitol Hill over government spending is heating up, as House Republicans have announced that they will be bringing two fiscal 2024 appropriations bills to the floor that include cuts in spending designed to reduce the federal deficit. But the Biden White House has already signaled that it will veto the measures over supposed “devastating consequences” they will have on abortion, those who identify as LGBT, and the climate.
Still, members of the House Freedom Caucus as well as House leadership signaled that they will seek even further cuts in spending than what has been laid out so far. During a press conference Tuesday, House Freedom Caucus members emphasized that they are undeterred in their mission to stop limitless federal spending on controversial social issues that continues to bloat the national debt.
“Economic security is national security,” said Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.). “I’m tired of hearing, ‘It’ll be next year’ or ‘This only effects [us] five years down the road. … Spending since 2018 has increased 33%. Folks, that’s unacceptable. … It’s time to present a budget that trims the fat [and] goes to programs that will defend and protect this country. We ought to be spending money for ships, for planes, for cybersecurity. Not for transgender surgeries, not for puberty blockers, not for woke programs [like] diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) further underscored that the COVID-era spending bonanza ushered in by the Biden administration must come to an end. “We are committed to using every tool at our disposal to [go] back to the $1.471 [trillion] pre-COVID level spending for non-defense discretionary, allowing defense to stay at the current levels,” he said. “… The Republican approach with appropriations bills ought to implement Republican priorities, reversing the reckless, harmful, dangerous policies of the Biden administration, and take a step toward putting us on a path to fiscal responsibility.”
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) concurred, giving a stark assessment of what current federal spending levels look like.
“Even if you move to the 2022 levels of spending for discretionary funding for non-military spending, that $1.8 trillion dollars in spending will be borrowed — every penny of that will be borrowed,” he observed. “So you’re looking at $32 trillion in national debt today. A year from now, it will be in excess of $34.5 trillion. … That’s what you’re looking at. … That’s why I have staunchly encouraged us to go back to 2019 discretionary levels across the board.”
“Wouldn’t it be nice if for just three months or six months we didn’t spend more than we brought in every month?” Biggs continued. “On average, we spend about $125 billion more every month than we bring in in revenue, and that’s even when we had record revenue. It is not a revenue problem here, it is a spending problem. … In 2019 pre-COVID, nobody was saying, ‘Gee, we’re underfunded. We’re too small as a federal government.’ Nobody was saying that. So why not get back to those 2019 levels?”
When asked if they are concerned about a government shutdown due to disagreements over the funding bill, Good was frank. “We should not fear a government shutdown. Most of what we do up here is bad anyway. Most of what we do hurts the American people. … Essential operations continue — 85% continues. Most of the American people won’t even miss if the government is shut down temporarily.”
Good went on to encourage House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and his fellow Republicans to stand strong in the face of Democratic opposition and use their majority to push through a balanced budget.
“Our speaker has an opportunity to be a transformational, historical speaker that stared down the Democrats, that stared down the free spenders, that stared down the president and said, ‘No. We’re going to do what the American people elected us to do, and the House is going to say no.’ We’re going to pass a good Republican bill out of the House and force the Senate and the White House to accept it, or we’re not going to move forward. What would happen if Republicans for once stared down the Democrats and were the ones who refused to cave and to betray the American people and the trust they gave us when they gave us the majority? So we don’t fear a government shutdown.”
Quena González, who serves as Family Research Council’s senior director of Government Affairs, further took issue with the White House’s claims that the language in the appropriations bills protecting religious views of marriage “endanger[s] marriage equality” and that defunding gender transition procedures “threaten[s] the health and safety of LGBTQI+ Americans.”
“Respectfully, President Biden is full of bologna,” he told The Washington Stand. “House appropriators are simply saying that the federal government can’t spend taxpayer money suing, fining, or penalizing Americans who believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, or to perform experimental, unproven, and irreversible ‘gender transition’ procedures. Medical experimentation and penalizing beliefs about marriage should be universally condemned.”
“The White House is so intent on pushing its elastic, open-ended, and never-ending ‘LGBTQI+’ agenda — with literally no end to what will eventually come after the plus — that the president declared, without basis, that protecting Americans from being forced to affirm same-sex marriage and protecting them from being forced to pay for ‘gender transition’ medical experiments and abortion will have ‘devastating’ effects,” González concluded.
Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.