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Jon Reid | Morning Consult

Freedom Partners, a group with close ties to the Koch brothers, is trying to rally congressional Republicans behind a plan that would postpone this year’s appropriations process until at least the spring of 2017, after the next president takes office, as part of an effort to reduce government spending.

Other budget watchers in Washington are skeptical that a long-term stopgap spending bill can work, but Freedom Partners insists that its proposal to avoid shutdown threats for months on end is gaining traction on Capitol Hill. …

… Freedom Partners, in concert with Americans for Prosperity and other groups affiliated with the Koch brothers, wants Republicans to rally behind a continuing resolution that would fund the government into March 2017. Some ultra-conservative Republicans, who shudder at the thought of negotiating another spending deal with President Obama, are keen on the idea.

“Congress should not be making another long-term spending deal with President Obama and Harry Reid,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, a faction of about 40 uber-conservative House Republicans, in an emailed statement to Morning Consult. “Taking away that leverage by passing a CR into March is something that Republicans should consider.” …

… “If the Republicans pass a long-term continuing resolution early in September, no matter what Democrats wanted to do, I do not believe that they could make the argument to the American people that we should be doing a giant omnibus bill instead,” said Andy Koenig, senior policy adviser at Freedom Partners, in a phone interview.

Koenig said discussion on Capitol Hill of a six-month continuing resolution was spurred by the groups push for a two-year plan aimed at reducing government spending and ending governing by crisis. Freedom Partners’ end goal is to get Republicans to support a two-year spending bill that would revive the across-the-board spending cuts under the Budget Control Act of 2011. …

… “We came out talking about a [two-year CR] and now they’re talking about [a six-month CR] so we feel that that is still much more preferable to an omnibus spending bill,” Koenig said.

Freedom Partners touts the two-year spending bill plan, called “Stop, Cut and Fix,” as a way for Congress to consider changes to entitlement programs, which are the main source of federal spending, as well as the budget process, without the threat of a government shutdown.

“We have seen that every time Congress and the president kind of get to these shutdown cliffs, the resolution is always on the side of more spending,” Koenig said. “What we’ve been focused on is trying to think of a new way to look at things in order to stop this broken cycle of higher spending, provide certainty — which every member says that they want — and to be able to kind of take a deep breath and look at the current budget system.”

With the two-year spending bill, Koenig said Congress would also have an additional year to pass all appropriations bills for fiscal year 2018 separately, a welcome return to the “regular order” that GOP leaders have called for throughout the year.

“We wouldn’t be operating from cliff to cliff, but it would still give Congress the flexibility to pass a budget, to pass appropriations,” he said. “There would be nothing prohibiting them from rewriting any of these appropriations and changing spending levels.” …

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