GOP Less Than Thrilled with Johnson’s Budget Plan

( – Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson is finding the Speaker’s gavel harder to wield than he hoped. Like his predecessor, Kevin McCarthy, Johnson is facing mounting criticism from his own party members after attempting to work with Democrats to balance the budget. These efforts have angered key GOP leaders, several of whom are already calling for him to be replaced.

Johnson’s new spending deal outlines nearly $1.590 trillion for the current fiscal year. It earmarks approximately $886 billion for defense and $773 billion for non-defense purposes. While Republicans do broadly support the idea of spending money on defense, the substantial increase in non-defense outlays led fiscal conservatives to sound the alarm.

Johnson has acknowledged that the negotiated budget fails to cut as much spending as desired. However, he views his attempts to foster bipartisan cooperation as a necessary evil aimed at avoiding a government shutdown in the near future.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that many of Johnson’s closest colleagues disagree with this viewpoint. Instead, they feel the House Speaker is bending over backward just to get Democrats to play ball when such an overextension simply isn’t required.

As Representative Chip Roy (R-TX) recently tweeted on X (formerly Twitter), the amount of money allocated for non-defense programs is set to balloon overall spending by $30 billion. He condemned the outcome as “a strategic failure” and said that Republicans had failed to leverage their power during negotiations.

Roy’s argument centers around the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) decision to change spending caps late last year. It was set to enact automatic cuts that disproportionately affected non-defense programs, granting Johnson and the GOP more bargaining power. Roy and many others feel the House Speaker totally failed to take advantage of the shift.

At a more basic level, an increase in spending also violates one of the most treasured conservative promises: fiscal restraint. That’s why sentiments like Roy’s are rapidly energizing the Freedom Caucus toward opposing Johnson as a leader.

Many of Johnson’s Republican colleagues expected him to take a far more partisan approach to negotiations — that’s why they voted him in. He positioned himself as a staunch Conservative strongly aligned with former President Donald Trump and deeply defined by his evangelical Christian beliefs. The House Speaker’s increasingly bipartisan approach to governing suggests that something has changed, but will he manage to power through?

Copyright 2024,