'We've Got A Country To Save': Oklahoma Rep. Josh Brecheen Speaks Out Ahead Of Looming Government Shutdown

The nation is now less than a week away from the possible suspension of key government services and furloughs for tens of thousands of government workers, a scenario that has become increasingly likely because of the actions of a handful of conservative Republicans in the House -- one of them from Oklahoma.

Monday, September 25th 2023, 5:33 pm



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The nation is now less than a week away from the possible suspension of key government services and furloughs for tens of thousands of government workers, a scenario that has become increasingly likely because of the actions of a handful of conservative Republicans in the House -- one of them from Oklahoma.

The far-right Freedom Caucus, which includes Oklahoma 2nd District Congressman Josh Brecheen, is well aware the stand its members are taking could result in at least a partial government shutdown, but Rep. Brecheen says this is what’s needed to get Congress's spending problems fixed.

"We’ve got a terminal diagnosis, in terms of our financial condition," said Brecheen (R-OK2) in an interview Friday. "For those who see it and see it for what it is, the time is now -- the time is now to lean in hard."

Brecheen says that means not giving in to the pressure to pass a stop-gap funding measure, known as a continuing resolution, or CR. Instead, he says, he chooses to stand with the principled few who are demanding passage of all 12 appropriations bills, with deep cuts, as Congress is supposed to do.

"We’ve got a country to save," Brecheen stated, "and people respect principle, and I respect these people that I’m around because I know they’re sincere about what they’re doing."

As sincere as they may be, it's their apparent inflexibility and unwillingness to compromise that is frustrating many of their GOP colleagues, who also count themselves as fiscal conservatives, but who believe spending reductions can be achieved without shutting down the government.

"Why would they want to stop paying the troops or stop paying the border agents or the Coast Guard?" Speaker Kevin McCarthy said to reporters this weekend. "I don't understand how that makes you stronger, I don't understand the point they're trying to make."

Nevertheless, McCarthy was, at last check, going down the Freedom Caucus's prescribed path and teeing up four of the 12 appropriations bills for floor votes this week. But even if they pass, which is not a given, the bills would still have to be reconciled with the Democrat-controlled Senate, meaning this path still leads to a shutdown.

"This will be a Republican shutdown," said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. "This is extreme House Republicans who are marching us toward a shutdown."

Brecheen says, on the contrary, this is a march toward financial responsibility, and he believes more will join.

"It’s amazing what happens when a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened," Brecheen said, "and that’s what’s happening."

Another wild card in this whole messy situation is the growing likelihood that the Senate could pass a bipartisan CR this week and send it over to the House. which would put McCarthy in another difficult position: passage could avert a shutdown, but also cost him his Speakership.

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