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House Dems Squeeze Johnson Over Freedom Caucus Demands

• https://www.zerohedge.com, by Tyler Durden

In a letter to Johnson and other Congressional leaders, Democrats warned against caving to the Freedom Caucus, and that spending bills should be advanced "without harmful poison pill policy riders" (deep spending cuts) that the GOP has called for, Axios reports.

"Clean funding bills – free of contentious poison pill riders that members of both parties oppose – represent the best path forward," they said, adding that they want to stick to 2023 levels as agreed to in January.

Democrat signers include: House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Rules Committee Ranking Member Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), along with centrist Reps. David Scott (D-GA) annd Mike Thompson (D-CA).

The Freedom Caucus wants to, among other things, block federal funding for gender affirming care, defund anti 2nd Amendment activities, prohibit DEI programs, block student loan forgiveness, and bringing DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas' salary to zero.

According to the Freedom Caucus, failure to include these provisions will "reduce the probability that the appropriations bills will be supported by even a majority of Republicans," wrote 28 of the caucus' members.

If there's no new budget by April 30, 1% across-the-board cuts kick in.

Johnson is in the same tough spot as his predecessor, Rep. Kevin McCarthy - risking a shutdown by siding with the Freedom Caucus on the one-year spending stopgap, or risking being ousted from his speakership if he works with Democrats to pass a new budget that avoids the across-the-board cuts.

Between the lines: Johnson and Democrats have reached an advanced phase of negotiations on individual spending bills, according to multiple sources familiar with the talks.

The current spending negotiations aren't expected to include many, if any, of the numerous restrictions on abortion, gender-affirming care and border policy that were included in earlier bills to secure enough Republican support to pass. -Axios


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