EXCLUSIVE: The House Freedom Caucus (HFC) are demanding certain budget measures amid the debt ceiling fight between Republicans and Democrats, including what leaders of the conservative group suggest could eliminate the need to raise debt limits this year.
The demands, which HFC will release Friday morning, include the enactment of legislation that would cut current spending and place a cap on future spending so the debt ceiling does not have to be raised, according to Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Scott Perry, who serves as chair of the HFC and spoke with Fox News Digital late Wednesday night about the caucus’ mission.
“First, we’re going to shrink Washington and we’re going to do that by saving now, by ending, first of all, the president’s $400 billion student loans bail out and rescinding all unobligated, unspent COVID 19 funds,” Perry said. “We’re going to recoup $80 billion in IRS expansion funds, as well as billions in wasteful climate change spending and the so-called Inflation Reduction Act. We’re going to find every dollar spent by Democrats that can be reclaimed so that we don’t have to raise the debt ceiling.”
“We’re going to keep spending at the current level by setting top line discretionary spending at the FY 22 levels… that cuts another $131 billion,” Perry added. “What that does is that pays the bills so we don’t have to raise the debt ceiling, because we don’t have to if we quit spending money on things that we can’t afford and don’t need.”
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Perry said the cap on future spending, as proposed by the HFC, would save $3 trillion over the long term.
“What we really want to do, in addition to that, is cut this woke and weaponized bureaucracy that we keep funding and that President Biden keeps asking for and Democrats in the House and the Senate keep on passing,” Perry added.
Some of the caucus’ to put the “woke” agenda in check, according to Perry, is to “end the southern border chaos, stop the vaccine mandates and things like getting rid of this pistol brace rule.”
The congressman also touted the caucus’ mission to grow the economy, which includes unleashing “the production of reliable domestic energy” and the passing of a continuing resolution with non-defense discretionary spending restored to pre-COVID levels.
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“And just to make sure that we stay on track during the appropriations process — in case Chuck Schumer doesn’t feel bothered, as he has not in the past to pass appropriations bill – we want to pass a preemptive continuing resolution with non-defense discretionary spending restored to the pre-COVID 2019 levels, to force Congress to pass appropriations in a timely manner.”
Another HFC effort is to “restore Clinton-era work requirements on welfare programs.”
Perry said members of the HFC believe the plan is “both realistic and actually gets to the heart of the matter” in an effort to “actually change the trajectory of our spending problem in Washington, D.C.”
If the requests are ignored and the demands for certain legislation are not included or not offered prior to a vote on the debt ceiling, Perry said those seeking to raise the debt ceiling are “going to have to find votes somewhere else.”
“We’re saying that we’re willing to address the debt ceiling problem created by President Biden and the Democrats. But what we’re not willing to do is just a blank check that just continues to encourage future deficit spending. So we’ll deal with the nation’s debt, we’ll make sure that there is no default, but in a responsible way that changes the trajectory and we actually have a plan to do it.”
Republicans have been in a standoff with congressional Democrats and the White House over raising the debt limit. House Republicans and some in the Senate are calling for spending cuts to offset the increase, while Democrats accuse the GOP of using a federal obligation as a political bargaining chip.
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Perry, who said the HFC is looking to be “responsible and lead” on the issue, said the Biden administration is fully responsible for forcing Congress into a vote on the debt ceiling due to rampant spending.
“A couple of days before Christmas last year, House and Senate Democrats – and of course, President Biden – signed a $1.7 trillion omnibus,” Perry said. “Two weeks later, on January 13th, Secretary Janet Yellen informed Congress that we were breaching the debt ceiling. So they knew it was coming and did absolutely nothing about it except make it worse.”
The House Freedom Caucus, which was established in 2015, consists of more than 40 House Republicans.