The House Freedom Caucus announced Monday that it will block attempts to pass a government funding bill unless its chosen policies are included.
Congress has not passed all the necessary appropriations bills, and it is unlikely to do so by its September 30 deadline. Party leaders on both sides have suggested passing a continuing resolution to keep funds flowing until all the bills have passed. If Congress fails to pass the stopgap measure, the government is at risk of a shutdown.
But the Freedom Caucus, a group of far-right House Republicans, said it would not support a stopgap. “We refuse to support any such measure that continues Democrats’ bloated COVID-era spending and simultaneously fails to force the Biden Administration to follow the law and fulfill its most basic responsibilities,” the caucus said in a statement.
The group demanded that any funding measures include policies to rein in immigration at the southern border “address the unprecedented weaponization of the Justice Department and FBI” and “end the Left’s cancerous woke policies in the Pentagon undermining our military’s core warfighting mission.”
The latter two points refer, respectively, to the indictments against former President Donald Trump and a Defense Department policy of refunding travel costs for service members who have to travel for an abortion. The caucus also said they would oppose short-term funding extensions and a “blank check” for Ukraine aid.
The Freedom Caucus has made similar demands before, such as when they tried to block the debt ceiling deal. That didn’t work out as planned. A deal was struck, and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy—whom the caucus keeps trying to undermine—somehow came out looking fine.
It’s possible, though, that the caucus has a different goal: tanking the economy. The government shutdown in 2018 cost the United States $11 billion, including $3 billion in economic activity that will never be recovered, the Congressional Budget Office said at the start of the following year.
With a presidential election on the horizon, the Freedom Caucus could be looking for ways to undermine Biden any way it can. Destroying the economy he’s helping to recover would do just that.