Freedom Caucus Member: ‘We Should Not Fear a Government Shutdown’

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A Virginia Republican congressman told radio host John Fredericks Thursday he and other members of the House Freedom Caucus came back to Capitol Hill from the August recess looking for wins in exchange for their votes in the approaching federal budget crisis.

“We should not fear a government shutdown or cave preemptively in fear of that,” said Rep. Robert G. Good, whose district, Virginia-5, was first represented by James Madison, who beat James Monroe.

“The next two weeks, the next three weeks will be more intense, more challenging, I believe, than the speaker battle,” Good said. House Republicans took 15 rounds of voting to elect Speaker Kevin O. McCarthy, and the Virginian was one of the very last holdouts.

Good said House conservatives are ready for the onslaught of criticism as they draw the line against the runaway spending and reforms in the running of the House they were promised in January when they eventually agreed to let McCarthy take the gavel.

“They’re going to get blamed for being troublemakers, obstructionists being difficult, but there’s too much at stake for the country,” he said.

The worst thing would be to pass Democrat bills that keep Democrat policies in place and Democrat spending levels in place, he said. “Just so they’ll get passed through the Senate, and we’ll avoid being criticized for the government being shut down.”

Good said there is a significant bloc opposing the expected cave to pressure from Democrats and their allies in the media.

“I and my conservative colleagues in the Freedom Caucus, I don’t want to speak for them. I believe they’re aligned with me,” he said.

“Certainly, 20 of us or so have put out a position to that effect,” he said. “We will not support a continuing resolution that funds the government at the current levels and keeps the current policies in place unless there are wins for the American people.”

Good said conservatives were told in May that the debt ceiling fight was the wrong time and place to force spending back down to where the federal government was before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The House Republican leadership told conservatives to wait until the appropriations process, he said.

“Well, now we are in the appropriations process,” he said.

“The stakes are extremely high, the pressure’s going to be tremendous, and American people need to recognize there will be some courageous warriors who are not willing to go along to get along,” he said.

“We didn’t come to Washington to continue the same old, same old, but yet what we’ve always got, the country can’t afford it–It’s time for transformational change,” he said.

Good: If McCarthy Uses Democratic votes, his speakership “unsustainable”

The Liberty University graduate said he has heard nothing from the House Republican leadership in a couple of weeks but has heard plenty from constituents.

“I’ve been busy traveling the district, meeting with the constituents, visiting businesses, visiting schools, visiting with farmers, just doing events, talking and listening to my constituents and what their feedback is,” he said.

The congressman said the people in his district, which is in the southwest quarter of Richmond, do not appreciate the prospect of McCarthy working with Democrats to protect Democratic programs.

“Obviously, they’re very concerned about the direction of the country, and certainly they’re very concerned that Republicans may join with Democrats to keep Democrat policies in place and Democrat spending levels in place,” he said.

In June, McCarthy’s deal to raise the debt ceiling that he negotiated with President Joseph R. Biden Jr. steadily lost support from House Republicans as members had time to read through its provisions. The Fiscal Responsibility Act, which, among other things, uncapped the debt until January 2025, passed with 71 House Republicans voting against it and 46 House Democrats giving the speaker his winning margin.

Good said that if McCarthy goes back to the playbook that got his debt ceiling passed, it will be difficult for him to continue as the speaker.

“I think that if the speaker goes along with the Democrats and betrays the trust the country has placed in us as Republicans,” he said. “I do not believe that’s a sustainable option for him as speaker.”

The congressman said McCarthy’s future is now part of the conversation.

“There are other colleagues who’ve spoken to that effect, as you know, in recent days,” he said.

“I just don’t think that is a sustainable path forward because that’s not why the 14 of my friends who made an agreement with him to change their votes to vote for him,” he said.

Good told the host it was Senate Republicans who voted with Democrats to fund Democratic priorities before the Republicans took control of the House during the lame-duck session.

I’ll remind you, John, you know this well, but part of the reason why we’re in such a mess fiscally is that 17 senators on the Republican side voted with the Democrats last December to pass the $1.7 trillion omnibus that funded the government through September with the Biden Pelosi, Schumer policies and spending levels dictated by the Democrats, which greatly diminished our ability this year to impact the spending, to impact the funding we should have.

The congressman added he was also upset that House Republicans failed to leverage the vote to raise the debt ceiling to achieve meaningful spending cuts.

“We should pass those bills implementing Republican priorities, cutting back to pre-COVID levels, incentivize the Senate, and then the Senate has the choice as to whether or not to fund the government and avoid a shutdown,” he said.

The Freedom Caucus priorities are having the Senate pass H.R. 2, the Secure the Border Act of 2023, defunding the weaponization of federal law enforcement against conservatives, and fixing the culture and posture of the Pentagon, he said.

“I will remind everyone, the Senate cannot pass Democrat bills with 51 votes,” he said. “They need 60, so only Republicans can help them pass legislation in the Senate.”

House Republicans should keep it simple, Good said.

“We have the ability to pass Republican bills to do our job, to implement the priorities that we ran on, the policies we ran on, the convictions we ran on when we asked for everybody’s vote back last November.”

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