The Freedom Caucus Is Flirting with Another Government Shutdown

The Freedom Caucus Is Flirting with Another Government Shutdown

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Congress has a week to avert another government shutdown — but only three working days since both parties are taking time to go on retreats to plan their legislative strategies for the year.

The most likely path to keeping the government running involves yet another short-term spending bill — the fifth since September. This one would keep the government running until sometime in March, though the length of the extension reportedly has yet to be finalized. But as Republican leaders consider their options, they’re facing a renewed threat from within their own ranks, Politico’s Sarah Ferris and Seung Min Kim report.

Bipartisan negotiations over a broader two-year deal to raise spending caps and protect so-called Dreamers from deportation have stalled. Now the GOP’s intra-party tensions over both the budget and immigration are flaring up again.

Some Republicans, worried that lurching from one short-term spending bill to the next harms the military, are pressing leaders to include a full year of defense funding in the upcoming stopgap measure. Meanwhile, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows is also threatening to withhold the 40 or so votes from his group unless House Speaker Paul Ryan advances a conservative immigration plan that stands no chance of getting through the Senate.

Meadows might have a bit of leverage, since Democrats insist they won’t vote for another continuing resolution without progress on the immigration issue. On the other hand, House conservatives likely won’t want to be seen as causing another shutdown, and the Freedom Caucus relented after making a similar push for concessions last month. Republicans leaders are confident they’ll get the votes to keep the government running after February 8, according to Roll Call. And Meadows himself also predicted that the government won’t shut down next week. But the frustrations are rising.