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Hardliners Pressure Speaker Johnson to Renege on Spending Deal


(Bloomberg) — House Speaker Mike Johnson is actively discussing reneging on a spending deal with Democrats to appease his restive right flank, several Republicans said Thursday, with just eight days before a funding lapse triggers a partial government shutdown. 

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“I’ve made no commitments,” Johnson told reporters following a private meeting with several ultra-conservatives, several of whom emerged optimistic that the bipartisan deal is dead. The Louisiana Republican said the party is having “thoughtful conversations about funding options and priorities.”

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The dramatic turn of events, five days after Johnson announced the accord with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, comes as conservative Republican members tie up business on the House floor and dangle threats of an ouster if he does not seek deeper cuts. It increase the chances of a partial government shutdown on January 20. 

Earlier, Schumer and Johnson agreed to an effective $1.66 trillion spending cap for the current fiscal year. Conservatives want at least $70 billion less. 

“Look, we have a top line agreement. Everybody knows to get anything done, it has to be bipartisan,” Schumer said. 

But Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a firebrand from Georgia, said Thursday after the meeting, “There’s going to be a new deal drawn up.”

Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, former House Freedom Caucus chair, said Republicans will come up with a new spending deal that addresses their priorities, including border restrictions. 

“It’s going to be exciting,” said Kat Cammack of Florida, who would not discuss details of the meeting. 

House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries told reporters there is nothing to discuss on the cap since a deal had been made. 

–With assistance from Ari Natter.

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