Washington – House Speaker Mike Johnson’s plan to prevent a government shutdown will be considered by the House on Tuesday, according to a message sent to lawmakers late Monday night.
The shutdown measure to temporarily fund the government, known as a continuing resolution, will be placed on the House floor under a procedure known as suspension of the rules. This allows it to bypass the House Rules Committee, where Republicans had signaled they would not advance the bill. Considering the measure under suspension comes with some caveats: it cannot be amended and it requires a two-thirds majority to pass the House.
This was the approach former chairman Kevin McCarthy took to the last continuing decision in late September. All the Democrats in the House voted for the bill, and the tactic succeeded in preventing a governmentbut it cost McCarthy the pulpit, after introduced a vote of no confidence against him.
Like McCarthy, Johnson will have to rely on Democrats to pass the measure, but so far there has been no sign that Republicans would rush to oust Johnson in the same way McCarthy was removed, since he has had so little time as speaker .
Johnsonon Saturday, which would extend state aid at current levels for some agencies until Jan. 19, while others would be funded until Feb. 2. It does not include deep spending cuts demanded by conservatives, but it also does not provide funding for Ukraine, Israel and the southern border.
“The bill will end the absurd holiday-season omnibus tradition of massive, bloated utility bills introduced just before the Christmas holidays,” the Louisiana Republican said in a statement about the two-step plan.
The House Rules Committee met Monday afternoon to take up the bill, but it did not adopt a rule that allows the bill to be debated on the floor. Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, a member of the committee, was one of the first Republicans to come out against Johnson’s plan.
“I can swallow temporary extension if we get actual ‘wins’ on … well … EVERYTHING. But not just one point,” he wrote ahead of the committee meeting.
In addition to Roy, Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Warren Davidson of Ohio, George Santos of New York, Bob Good of Virginia and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania said they oppose the measure. So if they all follow through in voting against the bill, Johnson will need Democratic support to pass it.
Before the start of a new fiscal year on October 1, Congress is responsible for passing a dozen appropriations bills that fund many federal government agencies for another year. The bills are often bundled into one large piece of legislation, referred to as an “omnibus” bill.
The House has passed seven bills, while the Senate has passed three, which were gathered in a “minibus”. No one has passed both chambers.
Congress passed a last-minute deal in September to keep the federal government open until mid-November just hours before a shutdown was set to take effect.
The bipartisan deal angered members of the hard right, who opposed any short-term extension funding the government at current levels and wanted the House to take up individual spending bills instead. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy’s opponentswhich paralyzed the lower house from moving any legislation for as Republicans failed to agree on who would replace him.
Johnsonearlier this month that there was “a growing recognition” that another temporary spending bill, known as a continuing resolution, is needed to avert a government shutdown, adding that Republicans were considering a new approach to temporarily funding the government.
He referred to the approach as a “laddered” continuing resolution that would set different lengths of funding for individual appropriations bills. The bill, which he rolled out Saturday, extends appropriations for veterans programs, transportation, housing, agriculture and energy until Jan. 19. Funding for eight other appropriations bills, including defense, will be extended until February 2.
Last week, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York called the “laddered” approach a “nonstarter.” But the bill’s exclusion of spending cuts and changes makes it more attractive to Democrats. Jeffries has said such a bill “is the only way forward.”
A White House statement on Saturday condemning the bill as a “frivolous proposal” stalled without a veto threat. President Biden signaled Monday that he might be open to signing it if it passes Congress.
“I’m not going to decide what I’m going to veto and what I’m going to sign, let’s wait and see what they come up with,” Mr. Biden to reporters.
Senate Democrats have mostly refrained from criticizing it. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Monday called the bill “far from perfect” but said the “most important thing” is that it rules out steep cuts and defense spending is included in the February extension.
The Senate was set to hold a procedural vote Monday night on a legislative remedy for its short-term funding extension, but delayed the vote.
“We are pausing our plans to move forward with the Senate vehicle to allow the House to go first with their proposal,” Schumer said of the delay.
Jack Turman contributed reporting.