Democrats warn Kevin McCarthy about conservatives leveraging appropriations bills

Democrats warn Kevin McCarthy about conservatives leveraging appropriations bills

House Democratic leadership on Tuesday squawked that Republicans will use the upcoming budget appropriations bills to satiate the right flank of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rep. Pete Aguilar of California condemned Mr. McCarthy, California Republican, for appointing “extreme” members on the Appropriations Committee who will be marking up 12 bills for fiscal 2024.

“Speaker McCarthy has placed some of these extreme members on the Appropriations Committee as part of his deal when he was auctioning off seats and trying to get the speaker’s gavel,” Mr. Aguilar told reporters at a weekly press conference.

Mr. Aguilar noted that 165 Democrats were necessary to pass the debt ceiling bill last week that Mr. McCarthy negotiated with Congressional Democrats and the White House.

“We didn’t love every element of it. But it did create a roadmap to get these appropriations bills out,” the California Democrat said.

“We’re optimistic that this framework will lead to good bipartisan bills. But that can only happen if Republicans tune out the extremism, not just in their conference,” he added.

Republicans have already announced their intention to use the appropriations process as leverage to get what they want.

GOP lawmakers are talking about pulling back funding for a new FBI headquarters that officials from Virginia and Maryland have been fighting over to become the new suburban campus, as more stories surface about the bureau’s behavior.

“I think that the FBI building’s funding this year is in definite jeopardy,” Rep. Andy Harris, a Maryland Republican on the Appropriations Committee, told The Washington Times. “We should not fund the new FBI headquarters until we get to the bottom of what’s going on.”

According to Mr. Harris, Republican appropriators will likely take issue with allegations about partisan leadership and politicized investigations at the FBI. The GOP majority says the bureau has been weaponized against American civilians and its agents who became whistleblowers against the bureau.

“Oh, I’m certain it’s going to come up in the markup of that bill,” Mr. Harris said.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, former longtime top No. 2 Democrat, is one of his state’s leading voices fighting to bring the bureau there. In a statement to The Times, Mr. Hoyer called the Republicans’ likely move “blatant hypocrisy. … yet another example of congressional Republicans’ choice to prioritize their own political agenda over the security of all American people. Our federal law enforcement agents deserve the resources they need to do their jobs and keep our communities safe — regardless of who controls Congress.”

House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, Kentucky Republican, announced Monday, following a briefing with the FBI, that his panel will proceed with a contempt charge against FBI Director Christopher A. Wray for his refusal to turn over an unclassified document alleging President Biden engaged in a bribery scheme with a foreign national when he was vice president.

Mr. Aguilar, in response to Mr. Comer’s announcement, said, “Most of what comes up in a Republican-led Oversight Committee falls under one or two categories: dangerous or laughable.”

He added, “I think this is one that has, maybe, both of those elements. But what House Republicans are doing is clearly down the road to continuing to support these seemingly political efforts to put [the president] in a negative light.”

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