House GOP leaders jettison promise to vote on 12 individual spending bills

House Republican leaders are eyeing a plan to fund the government that would lump the planned 12 appropriations bills into two or three separate packages, Fox News Digital has learned, apparently backing away from an earlier vow to hold floor votes on each of the bills individually.  

It was a vow made by ex-Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., when Republicans took control of the House after the 2022 elections and has been upheld by House GOP leadership through as recently as November. 

The right had criticized the previous Democrat-led Congress for funding the government via a single massive ‘omnibus’ bill, which they argued leads to more federal spending and gives less of a voice to rank-and-file members than voting on 12 separate bills would. Large, combined spending bills also tend to be magnets for spending and other priorities of individual members since the measures can more easily be hidden away. 

But with the clock ticking until the first of two partial government shutdown deadlines next week, sources told Fox News Digital that GOP leaders are now considering turning the 12 individual bills into a series of ‘minibus’ spending packages – smaller than the omnibus but still stitching together spending bills. They are only ‘mini’ in relation to the ‘omni.’

Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., the No. 3 House Republican, confirmed to Fox News Digital that passing minibuses is ‘on the table’ and blamed Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., for not working with the House on its individual spending bills.

‘Due to the Schumer Senate’s inability to pass individual appropriations bills and the tight timeline we’re working with, all options are on the table including minibus appropriations bills,’ Emmer said. ‘Thanks to Speaker Johnson’s leadership, the days of massive omnibus bills are behind us.’

Current government funding expires on two deadlines, with some agencies and offices running out of money on March 1 while others end March 8. Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., came up with the idea to separate the deadlines in order to avoid a single ‘omnibus’ spending bill. 

Johnson told Fox News Sunday in early November that the House was ‘committed to bringing 12 bills to the floor,’ adding it ‘hasn’t been done in many years.’

But a GOP lawmaker and a senior House GOP aide both told Fox News Digital that appropriators are at this point eyeing at least two minibuses to get government funding over the line.

‘I don’t think the parameters of the minibus will be exactly reflecting the two tracks we’re on, it’s probably going to be smaller than that. Maybe a subset of that, a minibus of two or three [appropriations] bills,’ the lawmaker said.

The lawmaker pointed out that while it’s been a goal for conservatives to vote on the 12 bills separately, it’s not really an aim for Democrats — whose votes House GOP leaders will need to pass anything in a divided Congress.

‘There are always going to be a handful of members who refuse to budge from voting on every one of the 12 bills separately,’ the lawmaker said. ‘These negotiations are less focused on getting 216 Republicans to vote for them and more on getting the majority of Republicans and a majority of Democrats to vote for them, and that concern about voting on all 12 is not going to be as prominent.’

The aide said, ‘I think when they started this, they wanted to do three minibuses. I think right now where they’re at is that they think they can do two.’

While the end result would still avoid the prospect of a massive omnibus bill that most Republicans oppose, GOP lawmakers are already bristling at the idea of walking away from their promise to keep the 12 bills separate.

Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., told Fox News Digital he’s ‘not surprised, looking at the calendar and just how things have been [dragged] out.’ Like Emmer, he accused the Senate of slow-walking the process and forcing House Republicans into this position.

‘What’s really still disheartening is the way the Senate has dragged out the appropriations process. It’s really disheartening to watch how Washington spends the people’s money, because there’s no real effort to have real negotiations early and take care of your business in an orderly fashion,’ Donalds said. ‘They try to run everything up to the end of the clock and force you into bad deals.’

A member of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., told Fox News Digital that passing minibuses would amount to ‘failure’ for Republicans.

‘Last year, we promised the American people that our House Republican majority would reject the Swamp’s status quo. Part of that promise includes handling government funding in a conservative and fiscally responsible manner, as well as passing each of the 12 appropriations bills,’ Clyde said.

‘We certainly made progress by passing 7 of the spending bills last year but advancing minibuses or an omnibus to finish the job would be a failure, in my opinion.’

Johnson’s office did not return a request for comment by Fox News Digital.

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