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Freedom Caucus backs GOP plan to tie CR to defense spending

Freedom Caucus backs GOP plan to tie CR to defense spending
© Greg Nash

The House Freedom Caucus will support GOP leadership’s strategy to pair a full year of defense funding with a temporary spending patch for the rest of the government, the group announced Monday night.

The expected stamp of approval likely puts the funding bill on track for passage in the House on Tuesday, though it’s unclear whether the proposal will be able to pass the Senate, where Democrats have demanded equal increases for defense and nondefense spending programs. Current government funding runs out on Thursday.

The Freedom Caucus took a formal position, which require consensus from 80 percent of its members, on the continuing resolution (CR) after a GOP conference meeting in which Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanRevising the pardon power — let the Speaker and Congress have voices Paul Ryan will attend Biden's inauguration COVID-19 relief bill: A promising first act for immigration reform MORE (R-Wis.) pitched the defense CR package to lawmakers.

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The strategy is designed to appease defense hawks and conservative hard-liners in the House GOP conference who were threatening to oppose the fifth CR since September, allowing Ryan and his team to pass a government funding bill with only Republican votes in the House.

But some Republicans who emerged from the GOP conference meeting acknowledged that the Senate may end up stripping out the military funding from the CR. At least nine Democrats are needed to overcome a filibuster in the Senate.

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsAgency official says Capitol riot hit close to home for former Transportation secretary Chao Republicans wrestle over removing Trump Pressure grows on Trump to leave MORE (R-N.C.) predicted that a “majority” of his group would oppose the CR if it came back from the Senate without defense funding.

But Meadows also said his members discussed the idea of ping-ponging the measure back to the Senate after reattaching military spending to the bill.

“I think there is a chance,” Meadows said of the Senate stripping out the defense funding, “but there’s an equal chance that we could send it back exactly the same way we did,” he told reporters.