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GOP rebels admit defeat in short-term spending fight as Johnson sticks by bipartisan deal

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Republican hardliners are reluctantly accepting defeat in the current fight over short-term government funding.

House and Senate leaders are working to pass a stopgap funding extension – known as a continuing resolution (CR) – aimed at keeping the government from a partial shutdown. Current federal funding expires in two tranches, on Jan. 19 and Feb. 2.

The issue of federal spending has driven a wedge between different House GOP factions, with conservatives staging several protest votes and even booting former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., from leadership for passing a CR to avoid a shutdown late last year. 

But several of those same GOP rebels are backing away from the idea of repeating the move with Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La. 

‘The only people I hear talking about that are you guys,’ House Freedom Caucus Chair Bob Good, R-Va., told reporters on Wednesday morning when asked about filing a motion to vacate against Johnson.

Good was one of the eight House Republicans who voted to oust McCarthy in October.

Now, however, he and other Freedom Caucus members signaled there’s little they could do to stop the bill from passing if House leaders put it forward under suspension of the rules, meaning it will skip a procedural step in exchange for needing two-thirds of the House’s support instead of just a simple majority.

‘I don’t have anything to announce at this point,’ Good said when asked about repercussions against House GOP leaders.

Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., told Fox News Digital he was ‘an optimist’ but conceded that there was likely little that conservatives could do to stop the CR from passing.

‘I guess if he puts it on suspension, a lot of Democrats vote for it, maybe that’s a correct statement. But it’s certainly not something I’m going to vote for,’ he said.

Rep. Dan Bishop, R-S.C., also dismissed talk of ousting Johnson from the speakership. He suggested it was more difficult to ‘leverage’ Johnson than it was McCarthy.

‘He’s an honest broker. He is a genuine conservative. He is in the circumstances everybody understands. And the problem is the Republican conference as a whole, and whether or not the members will stand up and demand some substantive, lasting, significant change, conservative change,’ Bishop said.

But lawmakers outside their circle took a blunter tone when discussing a potential rebellion against this CR.

‘Those individuals have now overplayed their hand,’ Rep. Greg Murphy, R-N.C., said. ‘I think they’re effectively sidelined because they’ve done it to themselves. They just don’t know when to stop, and it’s more about the fight rather than the result. And that’s just, I think it’s pretty pathetic.’

If passed, the new CR would extend the two government funding deadlines until March 1 and March 8, respectively.

It comes after conservatives spent the better part of last week trying to force Johnson to back out of a bipartisan deal on government funding for the remainder of fiscal year 2024.

But Johnson held firm to the deal and similarly defied his hardliners on Wednesday when reaffirming his intent to pass the CR.

‘We need just a little bit more time on the calendar to allow that process to play out. This is what the American people expect and deserve,’ Johnson said during his weekly press conference. ‘This is the way the law is supposed to work, where individual appropriations bills and not one big massive omnibus spending bill are duly negotiated and amended and priorities fought for. And that’s what we’re doing.’

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