It’s crunch time for new House Speaker Mike Johnson, who has just four days to escape a government shutdown, as his two-step plan to keep the government open beyond November 17 faces a key challenge on the House floor this week.
To pass the law by the Friday deadline, Johnson would likely need Democratic votes because conservatives have already rebelled against him online and pledged to vote against his plan.
The current short-term funding proposal would extend the Farm Bill for another year without any changes being made to the bill’s policies or spending levels. To put it mildly, it’s disappointing. Ohio Republican Representative Warren Davidson has stated his intention to vote against the measure. The bill should be more reasonable as a result of the agreement.
Rep. Chip Roy, a key member of the House Freedom Caucus, wasn’t alone in his opposition to the bill.
It is impossible to exaggerate my disagreement with the Speaker’s announcement of a clean CR to the House GOP. “I just voted to fund Pelosi’s policies and spending levels for another 75 days in exchange for future ‘promises,'” he tweeted on Saturday.
However, Johnson’s first big piece of legislation may never make it out of the House because Democrats are still undecided on whether they will support his concept.
Last week, many people wrote off the two-stage approach as complicated and pointless. However, several senators have assured AWN that lawmakers will keep an open mind because the plan does not entail significant spending cutbacks.
Defence, Veterans Affairs, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Energy, and Water Spending Bills, and Other Measures to Fund Government Operations Through Mid-January would all be funded under Johnson’s budget proposal. The second date, on February 2, is when financing for the remaining government agencies would run out.
Many Democrats have criticised the proposal as a gimmick, but they have also admitted that it cannot be ignored entirely while time is of the essence and Congress is split down the middle.
Senator Chris Murphy stated on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the Senate would move forward on a “clean CR,” meaning one without any “gimmicks” or “ladder” provisions. “I am concerned because the House procedure calls for you to return on one date to deal with half of the budget and on another date to deal with the other half of the budget. That seems like a formula for disaster to me. I’m willing to hear them out, but I much like the Senate’s approach of simply passing a (continuing resolution) to fund the entire government until the same date.
Sources told AWN that Democrats remain on the sidelines for now as they wait to see how Johnson will lead his own conference.
To approve the rule, a procedural vote for the funding measure, will be one of Johnson’s first major challenges. Conservatives under former Speaker Kevin McCarthy frequently voted down GOP rules to make a political point, despite the fact that it is normally up to the majority party to enact them.
It’s unclear if they’ll grant Johnson additional leeway or force him to try to bring the bill under a suspension of the rules, which would require a two-thirds majority to approve.
McCarthy’s decision to pass the final short-term spending bill using a rule suspension led to his dismissal.
Johnson’s unorthodox stopgap bill will be discussed for the first time at the House Rules Committee meeting at 4 p.m. ET on Monday. Johnson can only afford to lose three Republican votes in committee, and Roy, an outspoken GOP opponent of the bill, is on the committee.
Johnson tried to convince his members in a private call on Saturday that the conference had lost valuable time during a three-week speaker’s race to pass individual spending bills and that a short-term spending bill in two parts would give Republicans maximum leverage in negotiations over individual, year-long spending bills next year. But Johnson also made it clear to members that a year-long spending package with cuts to non-defense programmes would be his next course of action if Democrats in the Senate rejected his idea.
But Johnson also made it clear to members that a year-long spending package with cuts to non-defense programmes would be his next course of action if Democrats in the Senate rejected his idea.
Over the past week, House Republicans have struggled to find common ground on spending, much like they did when McCarthy was in charge. Last week, GOP infighting forced the withdrawal of two 12-month budget proposals that would have funded transportation and housing and subsequently financial services and general government. Some Democrats have seen this as proof that the Republicans have no negotiating power.
“By adopting the Freedom Caucus’s extreme ‘laddered CR’ approach, Speaker Johnson is setting up a system that will double the number of shutdown showdowns,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, said in a statement Sunday.
DeLauro stated, “As last week made clear, House Republicans cannot enact their radical agenda.” She cited the GOP’s decision to pull two funding measures from consideration last week because they were so bad.
A full-year financial agreement is no closer to being reached now than it was at the end of September. To prevent a government shutdown, Congress must quickly approve a continuing resolution (CR) that allows for the immediate implementation of full-year budget legislation and emergency aid.