House Freedom Caucus leaders have expressed newfound faith in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s ability to deal with a looming government shutdown over a contentious spending issue, standing by the speaker in contrast to their past criticism.
Caucus chairman Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and others have acknowledged that Pelosi has been working hard to reach a compromise on the spending issue — the first major spending package of the 117th Congress, to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year — and expressed confidence that she will come to an agreement with the White House.
The Freedom Caucus has long been a vocal critic of Pelosi, previously calling her out over proposed tax hikes and new government spending, but they appear to be shifting their stance amid the spending bill impasse. Biggs praised Pelosi on Thursday, saying she “has been completely open to negotiating and compromising,” adding that “we won’t shut down the government if she is willing to work with us.”
The unexpectedly positive comments from the conservative members of the GOP indicate the stability of Pelosi’s standing as speaker, despite the right’s wariness of her “liberal agenda.” It also suggests that Republican lawmakers are willing to compromise and find common ground regardless of political affiliation in order to pass legislation and keep the government open. If Pelosi and the White House can reach an agreement on the spending bill, it could set the tone for the rest of the year’s negotiations over other bills.