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December spending gloom falls on GOP: ‘I’m so disgusted’

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Republicans are divided over whether to land a year-end spending deal, taking it off the plate (taking power away from the Republican’s in Congress) of next year’s divided party and potential Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Republicans’ post-midterm divisions are running right into Congress’s mad dash toward a year-end government spending deal.

Even as congressional negotiators pushed toward an agreement that was broadly unveiled Tuesday night, there’s dissent within the GOP over whether to embrace a deal that would make things easier for a potential Speaker Kevin McCarthy next year — or to push for a delay into next spring when the party has more leverage under divided government. It all adds up to dwindling Republican enthusiasm for a spending agreement that’s taken months to finalize.

Led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Republican brass is trying to push a massive spending bill through despite conservative bellyaching. Locking in government funding through September would deliver a huge tranche of aid to Ukraine and, they’re betting, also remove an early landmine from McCarthy’s path. McConnell probably has the votes to pass a deal, but angst is growing among McConnell’s members, driving down GOP support.

And while some McCarthy allies acknowledge that a spending deal would ease their to-do list in the new Congress, few House Republicans can be counted on to support it. McCarthy himself is aligning with conservatives who want to see Congress punt, thus denying Democrats a year-end win — while depositing a spending fight on the next speaker’s doorstep.

Summing up the party’s dilemma, Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) surmised: “It’s a very unfortunate place we find ourselves.”

“I’m so disgusted by the fact that we’re here again,” said Cramer, who is undecided and criticized both the deal and delay approaches. “My concern is that a new House, very small majority, new leadership, is going to have to take over, and to have to start from behind? … That concerns me. That could have negative consequences.”

By Burgess Everett and Sarah Ferris

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