The House GOP is pursuing a two-step plan to avoid a government shutdown


House Republicans are pursuing a two-step plan to fund the government, three sources familiar with the matter told CNN, as Congress barrels toward another spending deadline next Friday.

House Speaker-elect Mike Johnson announced the plan on a GOP conference call with members Saturday afternoon, arguing “I was not the architect of the mess we’re in,” according to a source on the call.

While Johnson embraced the right wing of his conference by pitching the two-step approach, he didn’t quite follow their wishes. The package does not include the deep spending cuts his right flank pushed for, but instead expands funding at its current levels.

“This two-step continuing resolution is a necessary bill to put House Republicans in the best position to fight for conservative victories,” Johnson said in a statement Saturday.

The first bill would extend funding until Jan. 19 and would include military construction, veterans affairs, transportation and housing, and the energy department. The second part of the bill, which would extend funding until February 2, would include funding for the rest of the government.

Neither bill includes additional aid to Israel or Ukraine.

The two-step approach was widely pushed by Republican hardliners but rejected by many senators as a complicated solution that was difficult to implement and execute. Still, given that funding for the agencies would remain at current levels, it may be harder for Democrats to reject.

A Senate Democratic leadership aide signaled their openness to Johnson’s funding plan, telling CNN, “It’s a good thing the speaker didn’t include unnecessary cuts and kept defense funding with the other group of programs.”

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However, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre cast Johnson’s plan as “a recipe for more Republican chaos and more shutdowns — period.”

“Republicans need to stop wasting time on their own political divisions, do their job and work in a bipartisan manner to prevent a shutdown,” Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

Before the conference call Saturday, Republicans had considered several options, including a more straightforward interim bill with some extra sweeteners, along with the more complicated two-step approach that Johnson is pitching.

The conference has been divided over which option to pursue, with appropriators favoring a clean gap and members of the Freedom Caucus pushing the ladder approach.

Still, GOP Rep. Chip Roy, who is part of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, said on X that he opposes Johnson’s plan because it doesn’t have the deep spending cuts that the right wanted.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries has previously criticized the prospect of a two-step continuing resolution as a non-starter, calling it a “right-wing joyride that would crash and burn the economy.”

If lawmakers fail to pass a spending plan by next Friday, many government operations will grind to a halt until Congress acts. However, government functions deemed essential will continue.

Each federal agency comes up with a contingency plan that outlines which of its functions will continue during a shutdown and which will stop, as well as how many of its employees will continue to work and how many will be laid off , until the shutdown ends.

At the national level, government shutdowns can have far-reaching economic consequences, hampering growth and fostering uncertainty, especially if they drag on. Some of these costs include increasing unemployment, lowering gross domestic product growth, and increasing borrowing costs.

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This story has been updated with additional information.

CNN’s Shania Shelton contributed to this report.

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