It took a while, but bipartisan and bicameral negotiations appear to have produced an omnibus spending package that will fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year. NBC News reported overnight:
Congressional leaders released a bipartisan government funding bill early Tuesday that includes a rewrite of federal election laws aimed at preventing another Jan. 6-style attack and choking off avenues for future candidates to steal elections. They expect to pass the bill in the coming days to avoid a government shutdown slated to begin this weekend. It is the product of lengthy negotiations between the two parties and has President Joe Biden’s support.
If approved, the $1.7 trillion package would fund federal agencies through the end of September 2023. It would also include legislation to reform the Electoral Count Act in the hopes of preventing future coup attempts.
To put it mildly, House Republicans, who desperately want to threaten government shutdowns before next fall, are not pleased. In fact, as Politico reported, one group of House GOP lawmakers have even delivered a curious threat of sorts to the other end of Capitol Hill.
A group of 13 House Republicans released a letter to their Senate GOP counterparts vowing to oppose any legislation next Congress pushed by Republicans who ultimately support the massive government spending package this week. ... The lawmakers said they would oppose “any rule, any consent request, suspension voice vote, or roll call vote of any such Senate bill, and will otherwise do everything in our power to thwart even the smallest legislative and policy efforts of these senators.”
The letter from the House contingent to Senate Republicans added, “We are obliged to inform you that if any omnibus passes in the remaining days of this Congress, we will oppose and whip opposition to any legislative priority of those senators who vote for this bill — including the Republican leader.”
In other words, any GOP senator who supports the spending package this week will face legislative retaliation in the next Congress: These 13 House Republicans will oppose measures championed by senators who back the omnibus.
As a practical matter, this probably won’t matter much: In a Democratic-led Senate, working alongside a Republican-led House, the only bills that will stand a chance will be bipartisan anyway. The threat from the House GOP group, apparently led by Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, probably won’t sway a significant number of votes in the upper chamber.
But the fact that the threat was made at all is a reminder that governing in the House next year is going to be profoundly difficult, especially as far-right contingents like these make inflexible demands.
It’s also fresh evidence of a Republican Party that seems to slip deeper into disarray with each passing day.
Postscript: This morning, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy endorsed the threatening letter from 13 of his members.