With the clock ticking closer to the Sept. 30 government funding deadline, the conservative House Freedom Caucus this week outlined its official position on Washington’s latest spending debate.
Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., a member of the Freedom Caucus, spoke to The Daily Signal about why conservatives are insisting House Republicans honor their promise to reduce government spending while also enacting three policies:
- Securing the border
- Ending the weaponization of DOJ and FBI
- Stopping the Defense Department‘s woke agenda
Good, who represents Virginia’s 5th District, explains what’s at stake and why conservatives should make this their priority.
Listen to the full interview [Rep. Bob Good: No Sec…] on “The Daily Signal Podcast” or read a lightly edited transcript below.
Rob Bluey: Let’s start with the big question on people’s minds, which is, will the government shut down after Sept. 30? The Freedom Caucus put out a list of principles, which to most conservatives are reasonable things they expect Washington to accomplish. Can you walk us through what those are?
Good: Yes. The Freedom Caucus put out a position essentially saying we are committed to the spending cuts that were part of Limit, Save, Grow, which, as you might know, originated as Shrink Washington, Grow America.
That was a Freedom Caucus position we put out before it was largely adopted by the House, which was a reasonable bill that had significant cuts and reforms to take a significant step toward fiscal stability that was passed with 217 votes out of the House.
It was a strong Republican coalition, but as you also know, most of that was discarded or set aside or jettisoned for the terrible, what I called the “Failed Responsibility Act” that was struck between House and Senate and White House leadership, or lack thereof, perhaps you might say.
We are committed to going back to the pre-COVID spending level for nondefense discretionary that the speaker agreed to in order to become speaker back in January.
And also, as you know, after the debt ceiling caught so much criticism from conservatives—some of us in the House and then conservatives like yourself across the country—the speaker said, well, the debt ceiling levels, or of course it was an unlimited increase of debt ceiling, but the spending levels of the debt ceiling agreement, that was a ceiling, not a floor. We can go lower in the appropriations process.
So we intend to hold him to that or to use every amount of leverage that we have to do that.
We’re recognizing the House failed once again to do its job, and we passed one out of 12 appropriations bills primarily because we would not go along without having a total spending cut plan. In other words, we didn’t want to pass a handful of them upfront not knowing what the spending cuts were on the back end and how the whole puzzle fits together.
So we passed one … we’ve only got, I think it’s 11 legislative days when we get back, and unless we come back early—certainly I’m ready to go back early to get our work done. But if we don’t do that, the calendar’s really challenging.
So what we were saying in response to the speaker telling the conference, “Hey, maybe we need to have to do a CR, or continuing resolution,” is that if we’re going to do that, we’ve got to get a win for the American people to do it.
We can’t just kick the can down the road 30 or 60 days. And really, we think 60 would be terrible, to kick it to Dec. 1. And then the members on both sides are, “Oh, Christmas, we got to leave because of Christmas. Let’s just do an omnibus.” We’ve seen that play before, as you know.
So we’re saying we got to get a win for the American people. No. 1 would be securing the border, implementing HR 2, the bill we passed out of the House.
We also would like to attack the weaponization of federal government against its citizens and the emasculating or the weakening, or I call the wussifying, of our military at the hands of this administration.
So we’ve got to get some wins, not for the Republican Party, not for Speaker [Kevin] McCarthy or the Freedom Caucus, but for the American people in exchange for extending the time period for us to get our work done to pass the appropriations bill.
Bluey: It all seems quite reasonable. These are issues that the American people care about. We consistently see border security as one of the top concerns on the minds of not just conservatives but Americans who see it affecting their communities all across this country.
I’m glad you began with the issue of spending. You were one of the group that held out when Speaker McCarthy was running for election in January. Take us back to that moment and why it was so important to reform to the process.
Good: Well, to clarify, I was part of the 20 that was part of the 15-vote process, but I was part of that final six who never switched our vote to yes.
So I wasn’t directly involved with the negotiations or the agreement that was made by my friends who were part of the 14, but I was involved in the discussions with them, but not direct on the speaker on that. So I just want to clarify on that…..
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