Freedom Caucus chair says Speaker Johnson must ‘reassert authority’ amid GOP infighting over spending plan

EXCLUSIVE: House Freedom Caucus Chairman Scott Perry, R-Pa., is warning that House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., may have to “reassert some authority” in Congress after his plan to avoid a government shutdown got a rocky reception from GOP lawmakers.  “You have one opportunity to make a first impression. And while our colleagues in the Senate…want to continue the unbridled spending and the policies that are destroying my constituents’ lives, this is the one opportunity the speaker has to make an impact on that and say, ‘We’re just not going to do that,’” Perry told Fox News Digital in an interview on Tuesday morning. “He could have sent, I think…something that’s reasonable that the Senate would not be able to resist, but that’s not going to be the case here. And so, I think in that circumstance going forward, he’s going to have to somehow reassert some authority that hasn’t been asserted now.” HOUSE GEARS UP FOR VOTE TO AVOID GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN IN JOHNSON’S FIRST BIG TEST AS SPEAKER Perry is part of the growing Republican opposition to Johnson’s plan, a simple extension of last year’s funding priorities known as a continuing resolution (CR). His “laddered” approach would set two different funding deadlines for Congress’ 12 individual appropriations bills – a Jan. 19 date for four of the less traditionally controversial bills, and Feb. 2 for the others. The “ladder” was initially championed by members of the Freedom Caucus, but Perry explained, “We were for the ladder approach, but don’t confuse the ladder with the fact that this changes no policy and no spending.” SPEAKER JOHNSON ROLLS OUT PLAN TO AVOID GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN, PREVENT ‘SPENDING MONSTROSITY’ Johnson’s plan is expected to get a vote late on Tuesday afternoon. House leaders are planning to skirt normal procedures to pass the bill under suspension of the rules, meaning it will not need to go through a preliminary procedural vote but, in exchange, will need two-thirds of the House to pass.  “Unfortunately, what that might result in is more Democrat votes than Republican votes,” Perry said.  He did not say if such a result would lessen his confidence in Johnson’s leadership, but he suggested the new leader would have ground to make up. “What I hope it will do is inform the speaker, the rest of the conference, that the approach that we initially offered, that I thought was being considered, that I hoped would be considered, was actually the way to go,” Perry said.  “So moving forward, instead of surrendering on first down, we can actually run a couple of plays.” SPEAKER JOHNSON DRAWS BATTLE LINES AHEAD OF GOVERNMENT SPENDING SHOWDOWN Multiple sources told Fox News Digital that one of the measures in a recent conservative CR proposal was to separate funding for the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security to put added pressure on lawmakers to reckon with those spending priorities specifically. Current government funding runs until this Friday. Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., narrowly avoided a government shutdown on Sept. 30, the end of fiscal year 2023, by passing a “clean” 45-day CR – a move that ultimately cost him the gavel.  Perry said he did not believe Johnson’s plan would cause him to be ousted like McCarthy was, and that the ex-leader was voted out of the job because of “an accumulation of infractions.” “It’s unfortunate that he has been placed in this position at this point in history,” Perry said. “Unfortunately, a lot of this is out of his hands and not of his doing, and I think that there’s going to be some grace provided because of the circumstances.”
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