It looks like there could be a deal to avert a government shutdown – but it’s not all that different from an earlier version

January 8 – The US House of Representatives hammered out a possible deal over the weekend to keep a potential government shutdown at bay. 

The agreement concerns overall spending for the fiscal year and includes capping spending for certain defense and domestic programs. 

It’s apparently $16 billion less in spending than the deal former Speaker Kevin McCarthy tried to get through. 

Although some are suggesting there’s not much difference. 

Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “It’s basically the same and that’s the irony of it. $1.6 trillion spending plan for 2024 and it’s virtually identical to what McCarthy had negotiated last summer, which you’ll remember was the precursor to all of that movement among the House Republicans that caused his ouster. So I’m curious what he must be thinking now. You saw the Freedom Caucus last night they issued a very critical statement of Speaker Johnson, saying that he has basically caved in, its business and spending as usual. So once again it appears if they’re going to pass this, it’s largely going to be Democrats that are going to need to join Republicans because there would appear to be a number of Republicans that will not vote for this.”

The possibility of a government shutdown in about two weeks is the looming cloud hanging over these decisions. 

Barkdoll said, “Remember going back into the summer and fall, they kept doing the continuing resolution plans that kept the government operating for a few more months at a time. Well, here we are, we’re up against it again. Some of the hardline budget hawks and a lot of the really conservative Republicans, they believe Johnson has been way too soft on this. They would have preferred a strategy of letting the government shutdown. We need much bigger cuts, bigger reforms to programs, but it doesn’t appear that any of that is going to happen at least this cycle.”

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “We just talked to John Joyce, who was down on the border, we just heard different points that Johnson was making, saying they would not do this unless they got real policy change on the border. But I’m not seeing that.” 

Anthony Panasiewicz of NewsTalk 103.7FM added, “It’s just going to be sticking to the funding, which I know there’s been statements from Biden and his people around him saying, oh, we’ll do Ukraine and Israel aid and the border stuff at a later time. It just is an ongoing drama that we just can’t shake.”

Barkdoll wondered, “I don’t know what is it about this speaker position that they come in with all of this bluster and all of these promises, remember last year it was about this time when they were going through all those ballots, and they eventually chose McCarthy and remember that laundry list of all of the new things that were about to happen. I mean, there was going to be a vote on term limits and special new ways that voting was going to be more transparent and balanced. They didn’t put any of that stuff on the floor. I think what the Freedom Caucus and some of these other critics are saying, this is just looking like more business as usual. All these promises were made when Mike Johnson was elected, well, here it looks like he’s cut this deal that’s identical to what McCarthy did last year that everyone pushed him out. So it’s frustrating. I have a feeling a lot of Americans would be looking at this equally frustrated because we know last week we passed $34 trillion dollars of national debt for the first time ever and here’s another spending plan that has no real meaningful cuts whatsoever.”

Jansen said, “Even the so-called cuts that are in here, there’s that side deal that was made for an additional billions of dollars that still takes it right back up to the number that was there before. What I don’t understand, Johnson last week all full of no, we will use the power of the purse. I think the problem is we now have an administrative state and they don’t have the courage or the guts or the ability to pull that power back from the administrative state. So many things are done by executive order. So many things are done by giving this power to committees and commissions, unelected bureaucrats. Then you have to wonder about all the, it sounds awful, but then people can’t help but think this is what spurs conspiracy theories if you want to call it that. There’s stuff that they have on people that the different security agencies are willing to unequally apply the law to. Does that keep people in check whether they’re Democrats or Republicans to get the administrative state’s will?”

Panasiewicz noted, “It goes to just so many people either not seeking reelection or just getting out right now. I don’t want to say getting out when the getting’s good, but McCarthy has resigned. Bill Johnson in Ohio just resigned.”

Jansen suggested, “Can I intervene and say McCarthy’s resignation kind of proves the point that he’s not a great leader and not a great person that will stick in to do what’s right for the country when he leaves under these circumstances, knowing how close the numbers are.” 

Panasiewicz said, “In a weird way it’s almost too easy sometimes to get a Congressional seat with some of these things, where you just get some people that are not the, I’ve heard plenty of those quotes that we’re not sending our best and brightest to Washington.”

Barkdoll said, “The last number I saw is roughly 40 House members that have either resigned or have said they will not seek reelection this year. That may be an all time record. It’s certainly the highest number in decades. These are mixes of Republicans and Democrats. Up and down that line, if you look at those statements, uniformly it’s frustration with the government. They are saying that the Chamber is dysfunctional, they’re getting nothing done. You saw the stat at the end of last year that there was less legislation passed by this Congress in decades. It was the least productive Congress in many, many decades. I think to your point, some of these people that are seriously there to do the work, they’re not there building their brand or just trying to raise money, they really want to be there doing the work, this must be just maddening and frustrating. This budget deal that we’re announcing I think would be another contributing factor where you can imagine in some of those offices, a Congressman saying enough is enough. I’m out of here. Why keep subjecting myself to this when it just seems like nothing ever changes when it comes to that operation?”

Jansen added, “A scary thought is also rats jumping off the sinking ship as well.”

“Yeah,” Barkdoll agreed.