Editors at National Review Online urge House Republican leaders to avoid the temptation of a partial federal government shutdown.

With the first of two government-funding deadlines coming up this Friday, a partial government shutdown is looking more and more possible.

The challenge facing House Speaker Mike Johnson is the same as the one that plagued his predecessor, Kevin McCarthy. Republicans control only one chamber of Congress, by a razor-thin margin, meaning that if Johnson cannot unite his caucus around a bill to fund the government, he will have to rely on Democrats. Doing so could put his leadership at risk, because just a handful of Republicans have the ability to oust him. Under the “laddered” approach previously established by Johnson, the first batch of funding will expire on March 1, with the rest a week later, on March 8 (though a short-term extension being floated by Johnson remains possible).

At this point, the major sticking point is not about overall spending levels, which were hammered out last month. Instead, the House Freedom Caucus, in a letter last week, issued a series of demands and made complaints about the process itself. The letter warns that leaders will negotiate behind closed doors, cutting out rank-and-file members, and presumably release a “deal” at the last minute, with little time for members to read, debate, and amend the legislation before it comes to the floor for a vote.

The group also issued a list of 21 different provisions its members would like to see inserted into the bill to win their support. They are, generally speaking, provisions that most Republicans would support but that would be unlikely to get past the Democratic Senate or have a chance to be signed by Biden. Those include defunding Planned Parenthood; slashing Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’s salary to $0; defunding various EPA mandates; defunding gender-transition surgeries; and blocking Biden from removing border barriers. Essentially, the Freedom Caucus members are attempting to use the government-funding process as a means to get Joe Biden to stop governing like Joe Biden. But realistically, a left-wing Democratic president is not going to transform into a conservative Republican — especially when he has a Democratic Senate behind him.