House GOP looks to undercut McCarthy-Biden deal for 2025 funding

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), chair of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, on Thursday previewed the funding levels at which GOP negotiators are seeking to craft their annual government spending bills for fiscal 2025.

Republicans are proposing about $895 billion for defense programs and $710.7 billion for nondefense ones, totaling about a $1.6 trillion top line for the 12 annual government funding bills.

Cole said figures are in line with the spending caps agreed to as part of the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, which laid out spending limits for fiscal 2025 spending as part of a larger agreement to suspend the nation’s debt limit and prevent a national default.

However, at the time that deal was struck with then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the White House also detailed other changes to pad funding on the nondefense side not reflected in the law, including rescinding billions of dollars in IRS funding with the purpose of reinvesting it in nondefense programs.

Democrats have insisted it’s necessary for the entire deal to stay intact to shield nondefense programs from steeper cuts than members in the party bargained for when they voted with Republicans to pass the debt limit deal last year.

But that overall deal has faced staunch opposition in the past year from hard-line conservatives who say it doesn’t go far enough to curb government spending.

In his notice Thursday, Cole said the bills the committee aims to mark up and pass in the weeks ahead will “adhere to law set by the Fiscal Responsibility Act—with no side deals—and focus resources where they are needed most.”

“Our FY25 process will reflect our commitment to strengthening our national defense, supporting the safety and security of the American people, and reining in government to its core mission,” he said.

Democrats have already pushed back against the recent move.

“I call on Republicans to rethink the funding levels they released. Increase nondefense and defense funding levels by at least one percent as agreed to almost a year ago today,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.), top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, said in a statement, accusing Republicans of “leaving on the table at least $75 billion in investments that those families depend on.”

“This is the exact same process we saw play out last year. A process where House Republicans, held hostage by their most extreme members, led us from one shutdown threat to another. It was messy, chaotic, harmful, and embarrassing for House Republicans who could not pass their own funding bills,” DeLauro said.

As a result, the recent notice said the proposed figures would mean an increase of about $9 billion for defense funding, while nondefense programs “will be cut effectively by 6 percent.”

Republicans also say the reductions won’t be “evenly distributed,” noting subcommittees that fund agencies such as the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, State, financial services and general government “will receive significant cuts of 10-11 percent.”

Other subcommittees, the notice said, would receive “smaller non-defense cuts, reflecting Republican priorities across the bills.”

Cole also unveiled the committee’s schedule for the coming weeks, which includes two full committee markup sessions scheduled next week to consider subcommittee allocations, as well as funding for military construction and veterans programs.

The goal is for the committee to pass out all 12 bills by August recess.

Congress has until late September — when current government funding is set to expire — to pass legislation to keep the lights on or risk a shutdown.

However, lawmakers are expected to need a funding stopgap in September, after finishing their fiscal 2024 funding work months behind schedule.

—Updated at 1:12 p.m. ET

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.