On Monday a New York Times investigation, “House Republicans Demand Deep Cuts to Spending Bills They Rarely Support” offered a throwback to the paper’s insanely biased days of ideological labeling. The slant started in the subhead:
G.O.P. leaders are tailoring their government funding legislation to far-right lawmakers who are insisting on deep cuts, but who hardly ever vote for spending bills. That’s raising the chances of a fall shutdown.”
Reporters Catie Edmondson and Carl Hulse at least injected some variety into their fear-mongering, coming up with a variety of ways to refer to conservative Republicans, particularly the House Freedom Caucus.
House Republican leaders working to write and pass the spending bills that fund the government face a major hurdle: Their own party -- especially their most powerful, arch-conservative faction -- has spent the last decade assailing federal spending and, with growing frequency, casting vote after vote against it.
G.O.P. members of the House have supported spending bills less than half the time over the last dozen years, according to a New York Times analysis of such votes since 2011. Hard-right lawmakers associated with the Freedom Caucus, which has been the most outspoken about slashing spending, have voted in favor of government funding bills less than 20 percent of the time. And a smaller bloc of ultraconservative members who have threatened to blockade the House floor if their priorities are not met has almost always voted against appropriations bills -- in an average of 93 percent of cases.
A simple nytimes.com keyword search found 2297 historical appearances of the term “ultraconservative,” compared to only 262 for “ultraliberal.” (Those were unfiltered results and don’t necessary pertain to U.S. politics.)
Despite all of that, Speaker Kevin McCarthy, working to manage a right-wing revolt, has agreed to tailor the spending bills to the demands of a group of lawmakers who have rarely, if ever, supported such measures during their time in Congress. At their insistence, he has embraced funding levels far below what he agreed to in May as part of a deal with President Biden to suspend the debt limit and avoid a federal default.
And what do these proposed “deep cuts” entail?
Mr. Roy, who has said he wants to force cuts to return government spending to pre-Covid levels, is one of 13 House Republicans who have never voted for any kind of spending bill since 2011.
Outrageous! Who knew that pre-Covid-level spending was an ultraconservative extreme back then?
Some of House Republicans’ perennial objections to spending bills are procedural. Many have protested being forced to vote on one huge, take-it-or-leave-it bill that lumps all federal funding together. But the opposition is also ideological, with hard-liners refusing to vote to fund a federal government they charge has grown bloated and has arrayed its power against conservatives.
And they have railed against what some far-right lawmakers refer to derisively as the “uniparty,” the group of mainstream Republicans and Democrats, including party leaders, who have routinely banded together to do the necessary business of funding the government.
A chart of members’ voting records on spending bills was introduced under the headline: “Hard-Right House Members’ Voting Record on Spending Bills.”
They even threw in a “conservative firebrands in the House” reference near the end.