U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson introduced a Republican stopgap spending measure on Saturday to prevent a government shutdown in a week’s time. However, the measure faced opposition from lawmakers in Congress from both parties. The measure proposed by Johnson would fund certain parts of the government until Jan. 19 and others until Feb. 2, unlike regular continuing resolutions. House Republicans aim to pass the measure on Tuesday. Johnson stated that this two-step continuing resolution is necessary for conservative victories. The House Republican stopgap did not include any supplemental funding for Israel or Ukraine.
To avoid a fourth partial government shutdown in a decade, the House and Democratic-led Senate must agree on a spending vehicle that President Joe Biden can sign into law by Friday. Otherwise, national parks would close, pay for federal workers could be disrupted, and various activities from financial oversight to scientific research would be affected. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre criticized the proposal, calling it a recipe for more Republican chaos and shutdowns. She stated that House Republicans are wasting time with an unserious proposal that has been criticized by members of both parties.
Johnson, the top Republican in Congress, unveiled his stopgap measure a day after Moody’s lowered its outlook on the U.S. government’s credit rating to “negative” from “stable.” Moody’s cited political polarization in Congress on spending as a threat to the nation’s fiscal health. Johnson’s stopgap measure seemed to appeal to two factions within the House Republican party: hardliners who wanted multiple end-dates in the legislation, and centrists who called for a clean stopgap measure without spending cuts and conservative policy riders that Democrats reject. The legislation would extend funding for various programs until Jan. 19, while funding for other federal operations would expire on Feb. 2.
However, the plan faced criticism from members of both parties. Representative Chip Roy, a member of the hardline House Freedom Caucus, opposed the clean CR announced by the Speaker. He called for spending cuts to be included in the new measure. Democratic Senator Brian Schatz described Johnson’s measure as super convoluted and costly to taxpayers. He emphasized the need to pass a clean short-term CR like adults. A stopgap measure would provide lawmakers with more time to implement full-scale appropriations bills to fund the government through Sept. 30. Johnson warned Democrats that failure to reach an agreement on 2024 spending would lead House Republicans to implement a full-year CR with adjustments to meet national security priorities.
House Republican hardliners have been pushing for cuts in fiscal 2024 spending below the agreed level of $1.59 trillion. However, this is only a small portion of the overall federal budget, which includes mandatory outlays for Social Security and Medicare and exceeded $6.1 trillion in fiscal 2023. If Johnson’s current plan fails to gain support for passage, it could jeopardize his political future, and he may have to resort to a standard CR that Democrats can accept. Johnson’s predecessor, Kevin McCarthy, was removed from the position after hardliners blocked a Republican stopgap measure and he opted for a bipartisan approach to avert a shutdown.
In conclusion, U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson introduced a Republican stopgap spending measure to prevent a government shutdown, but it faced opposition from lawmakers in Congress. The measure proposed funding until Jan. 19 and Feb. 2 for different parts of the government. The House and Senate must reach an agreement on spending by Friday to avoid a shutdown. The proposal was criticized by the White House, and Moody’s lowered its outlook on the U.S. government’s credit rating. Johnson’s measure aimed to appeal to different factions within the House Republican party. However, it faced criticism from members of both parties. Failure to reach an agreement could lead to a full-year CR with adjustments to meet national security priorities. House Republican hardliners have been pushing for spending cuts, but the overall federal budget is much larger. Johnson’s political future could be at risk if his plan fails, similar to his predecessor.
Have a tip we should know? email@example.com