". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Republican Hopes of Progress in Budget Negotiations Dashed

September 21, 2023

The House voted down a procedural vote to advance the Department of Defense (DOD) appropriations bill for the third time on Thursday, with six Republicans joining all Democrats to vote down the measure by a vote of 212-216. Five Republicans had joined Democrats to vote down the bill 212-214 on Tuesday.

Reps. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), and Eli Crane (R-Ariz.) voted with Democrats to block the bill. Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) switched his vote to “no” just before the vote concluded so that he could introduce a motion to reconsider the measure. After a recorded vote was requested on that motion, the House recessed.

U.S. House Republicans met late into the evening Wednesday in the Capitol basement, trying to hash out the ongoing differences over how to fund the government, as The Washington Stand covered Wednesday. Their evening meeting yielded “tremendous progress,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters.

At the meeting, Republican leadership settled on an overall spending level of $1.526 trillion across all 12 appropriations bills, which Republican holdouts wanted to see before agreeing to vote for any funding. Party leadership also agreed to advance a 30-day continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government funded through October at an annualized rate of $1.471 trillion, the compromise level negotiated earlier this year in the Limit, Save, Grow Act, to which conservatives insisted the House must hold fast.

Ironing out these points led McCarthy to believe he had cleared the way for the DOD appropriations bill, which five Republican hardliners shot down in a 212-214 procedural vote on Tuesday. Two of the five holdouts from Tuesday’s vote, Reps. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) and Ken Buck (R-Colo.) agreed to switch positions, allowing the bill to proceed to debate and a vote.

“I agreed to vote for the rule for DOD,” said Norman. “And what we will do, I think you’ll see now, is a rapid movement to get the 12 approps. We’ve been pushing for a long time to get regular order. We’re going to do that now for September 30th. That’s what we’re shooting for. That’s a positive thing.”

Regular order is the process of passing 12 appropriations bills each year, instead of funding the government through CRs. The federal government’s fiscal year expires at the end of September, as does the current funding authorization. The House passed the appropriations bill funding Military Construction and Veterans Affairs in June, but it has not yet passed the other 11 bills.

As of Wednesday evening, it was less clear whether the 30-day CR had garnered enough support to pass. However, at least one open critic of the CR, Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.), said he would vote for the CR as McCarthy outlined it Wednesday night.

House leadership planned to hold another vote on the DOD appropriations bill on Thursday, to work on advancing other individual spending bills, and to hold votes on Friday and Saturday.

“I think we’ve made tremendous progress as an entire conference,” McCarthy insisted. “We had a great discussion. I think we’ve got a plan to move forward.”

However, after securing the votes of Norman and Buck, McCarthy’s hopes to advance the DOD appropriations bill were dashed again Thursday morning when Green and Crane joined Bishop, Biggs, and Rosendale in voting against moving the bill forward.

Joshua Arnold is a senior writer at The Washington Stand.