Speaker Mike Johnson said on Friday that he stood by the spending deal he negotiated with Democrats to avert a government shutdown, spurning demands from ultraconservatives who have pressured him to jettison the agreement.
The announcement, after days of public silence about what he would do, all but guaranteed that Mr. Johnson will have to work with Democrats in the coming days to pass a short-term bill to keep the government funded past a pair of deadlines on Jan. 19 and Feb. 2, going back on his promise to never bring up another temporary spending measure.
Mr. Johnson had been facing mounting pressure from the hard-right Republicans, who are furious at the spending levels in the bipartisan plan, to find an alternative. They have begun dangling the threat of forcing a vote to oust the Louisiana Republican, subjecting him to the same fate as his predecessor.
But after a flurry of meetings with both ultraconservative critics and politically vulnerable Republicans in swing districts who urged him to adhere to the compromise, Mr. Johnson emerged to declare: “Our top-line agreement remains.”
“After weeks of hard-fought negotiations, we achieved a strong top-line agreement,” he said, adding that Republicans had secured concessions including speeding up $10 billion in cuts to I.R.S. enforcement and clawing back $6 billion in unspent Covid dollars and other emergency funds.
The announcement, which infuriated the hard right, came minutes after an animated back-and-forth on the House floor with members of the Freedom Caucus, many of whom had demanded that he scrap the deal entirely in favor of deep spending cuts and refuse to fund the government further without a severe crackdown on migration at the U.S.-Mexico border.
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