Georgia Gov. Kemp hammers GOP hard-liners for lack of ‘guts’ on spending bills

FILE - Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp speaks during Georgia Chamber Congressional Luncheon at The Classic Center, Aug. 8, 2023, in Athens, Ga. Kemp announced on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023 that he was suspending the collection of state taxes on unleaded and diesel for a month, citing inflation. (Hyosub Shin/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, file)

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has a message for the GOP hard-liners, including U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Northwest Georgia, who refuse to pass legislation to fund the federal government unless the measures also address demands on immigration, Ukraine funding, and more.

"Just pass the damn bill and try to get something," Kemp said in an interview Friday. The governor hammered far-right Republicans for making individual demands of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., without presenting a comprehensive plan to rein in overall spending.

"If you're really hellbent on working on spending and controlling spending, where are their proposals for dealing with that?" Kemp said. "None of them have enough guts to come out and say anything about that, because they know they'll get lit up by the other side — or the front-runner in the presidential race."

(READ MORE White House preparing for government shutdown as House Republicans lack a viable endgame for funding)

The governor's remarks Friday did not move Greene or others to change course. Instead, the Rome congresswoman held an "emergency town hall meeting" in Plainville on Friday night to lay out her reasons for blocking McCarthy's plans. At one point, she held her microphone to her cellphone for a call from former President Donald Trump. "When you're there for Marjorie, you're there for me, too," he said.

On Sunday, Greene announced she'll also vote against the revised spending package that passed out of the Rules Committee over the weekend, which included $300 million of military support for Ukraine.

"No one who wants peace should vote yes on the rule to advance the bills. That's why I'm a HARD NO on the rules package and a blank check for Ukraine!" she wrote.

Such opposition puts McCarthy in a jam again, since he can only afford to lose a handful of GOP votes and Democrats have made it clear they won't help to slash funding levels or pass new conservative riders.

(READ MORE Government shutdown risk spikes as House Republicans leave town in disarray amid hard-right revolt)

Kemp said Greene and others need to focus on the bigger picture, too.

"Why not have some sort of spending bill that would help secure the border even though you're not getting everything you want? Take the win and show people you know how to govern," Kemp said.

The House returns to vote on the new spending package Tuesday. That's also when Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has scheduled a procedural vote on what could become stopgap funding legislation. For that to move quickly, Schumer will need bipartisan support.

Once Congress returns, there will be five days until government funding runs out.

  photo  U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene speaks during the Turning Point Action Conference, Sunday, July 16, 2023, in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Michael Laughlin)