- A government shutdown is looming on Capitol Hill, and Montana’s two congressmen are split over how to proceed with the appropriations process.
- While Republican Reps. Matt Rosendale and Ryan Zinke both told the Daily Caller News Foundation they want to pass the 12 appropriations bills, Rosendale voted twice against advancing the Department of Defense spending legislation this week, and says he won’t support any continuing resolutions to temporarily fund the government.
- “I’ve been very, very consistent that we have to, and we were prompt in January, that we were going to pass all 12 appropriation bills, and that we were going to bring them to the $1.471 trillion non-defense discretionary level — and that is all I have ever asked for,” Rosendale told the DCNF in an interview.
Montana’s Republican congressmen are split over the current spending fight in the House to avoid a government shutdown by the end of the month, according to interviews with the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Congress has until Sept. 30 to either pass 12 appropriations bills or a continuing resolution (CR) to temporarily fund the government, and GOP Reps. Matt Rosendale and Ryan Zinke of Montana have different opinions on how to proceed. Though both congressmen told the DCNF they want to pass all of the spending legislation, Rosendale helped tank two votes this week to advance the House GOP’s Department of Defense (DOD) appropriations bill, and insists he won’t support any CR’s.
“I won’t be supporting any CR,” Rosendale told the DCNF. “A continuing resolution is simply an extension of Nancy Pelosi’s spending and Joe Biden’s policies. I voted against them all for two years, and so I will not now, at this point, support a continuing resolution that perpetuates both of those. It doesn’t matter what provisions happened to be stuck inside of it.”
Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus (HFC) and the moderate Main Street Caucus brokered a deal to temporarily fund the government for another month. The CR included the Secure The Border Act, which first passed the House in early May, minus e-verify, a near 8% cut to non-defense discretionary spending and other provisions.
The deal received backlash from many House conservatives, including Rosendale, an HFC member, who told the DCNF that the conservative provisions tacked onto the CR won’t make it through the upper chamber and are “merely a messaging tool.”
Zinke, who sits on the House Appropriations Committee, didn’t say whether he would support such a deal because a final CR has yet to be written, as negotiations are still ongoing, he told the DCNF. The congressman doesn’t believe members should preemptively decide how to vote on legislation before you know what it entails in its entirety.
“I think a good rule of thumb when you’re a congressman or a representative at any level is you should know what you’re voting on, and you should never say never, because you don’t know what that is,” said Zinke. (RELATED: House Republicans Balk At Temporary Spending Bill)
— Matt Rosendale (@RepRosendale) September 21, 2023
Rosendale wants to pass the appropriation bills, but is opposed to spending legislation that doesn’t include topline numbers pursuant with what House Republicans and Speaker Kevin McCarthy previously agreed to, he told the DCNF. The congressman and several other House conservatives voted with Democrats against a rule to advance the defense appropriations bill both on Tuesday and Thursday.
The congressman was one of the 20 Republican holdouts during McCarthy’s speakership bid in January, where he secured the gavel on the 15th vote after negotiating with his detractors. McCarthy agreed to a rules package, adding HFC members to the Rules Committee, capping spending levels at Fiscal Year 2022 and establishing a single-member motion to vacate the speaker.
“I’ve been very, very consistent that we have to, and we were prompt in January, that we were going to pass all 12 appropriation bills, and that we were going to bring them to the $1.471 trillion non-defense discretionary level — and that is all I have ever asked for,” said Rosendale. “I want to see the total value of those 12 bills. I want to see that adds up to $1.471 [trillion], and then my recommendation is that we start passing the bills that have some cuts contained within them.”
The defense appropriations bill includes several conservative provisions, including blocking Ukraine security assistance, stripping down the Pentagon’s DEI, gender and abortion initiatives, and more. Zinke, a former Navy SEAL, said that “there’s a whole lot of goodness” in the DOD spending legislation.
“The defense bill prohibits things like aid for sex change operations and hormone therapy for new recruits, it diverts a lot of the climate change into actually frontline, needed hardware technology, it allows the commanding generals to have more latitude on equipment and priorities on the frontlines,” said Zinke.
Zinke is also advocating that Congress pass all of the appropriations, but is prioritizing the three on defense, homeland security and veteran affairs, which is the only one out of 12 that has passed the House.
“If we get the appropriations, at least the big three, and arguably probably the most important to defend our country, our border and take care of our vets, if we get those three, then the Senate has to negotiate them, and then we continue to pass the appropriation bills,” said Zinke. “The mission was really twofold. One is to curb spending and remove the woke. And I think the appropriations bills do that. I think to balance the budget and regain fiscal discipline also is Congress’s task. You have to once again dismantle these arbitrary lines and appropriate everything.”
McCarthy and House Republicans came to a new short-term funding agreement in a closed door meeting Wednesday evening, which would cut more spending, according to multiple reports. House leadership was hoping to bring the new CR to the floor, but broke for the weekend on Thursday, Axios reported.
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