WASHINGTON – On Tuesday afternoon, House lawmakers were ready to pass the bill of new Speaker Mike Johnson to avoid a government shut down. This would push the GOP’s fight over spending until after the holiday season.
The so-called “laddered continuing resolution” (CR) would fund a part of the federal government, including the Agriculture, Transportation and Veterans Affairs Departments, through January 19, and the Defense Department and the remaining portions of the federal government until February 2.
The CR does not include any controversial policy provisions or spending cuts that could alienate Democrats. The CR does not contain a supplemental package that would cover issues like humanitarian aid, border security or aid to Israel and Ukraine.
The CR will also give agitated lawmakers, who have been in session for 10 straight weeks, a chance to take a break from one another. The CR will also give agitated legislators, who have been in session for ten straight weeks, a time to relax.
“I have been drinking Niagara Falls for the past three weeks.” “This will allow everyone to go home for two days during Thanksgiving and cool down,” Johnson, R.-La. told reporters.
“Members are here… for ten weeks.” He said that the place was a “pressure cooker”. “I think everyone can go home and we can reset. “We’re going map out a plan to fight for these principles.”
The House Leaders have structured the CR to require two-thirds support of the whole House in order for it to pass. Johnson will need a lot of support from Democrats because conservatives are revolting against Johnson’s budget bill.
The Senate will then need to pass the CR to Joe Biden by Friday evening to avoid a government shutdown.
Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Minority Leader, says publicly that Democrats are still evaluating Johnson’s proposal. Jeffries, however, told the rank-and-file Democrats in a closed door meeting held on Tuesday that “this is OK. This can be lived with,” according to a leader of his team who was present.
A few Democrats who left the caucus have said that they will be joining.
“We have made it clear that no cuts should be made to spending.” Jeffries, after the meeting, told reporters that “we’ve made it clear that there shouldn’t be any poisonous political partisan policies provisions.”
According to a source, Rosa DeLauro and Debbie Wasserman Schultz — two of the top appropriators in the room — argued against being a “cheap partner” by helping Johnson pass CR unless they were given something back. DeLauro, Wasserman Schultz and others wanted to see a way forward for topline spending figures and agreement on funding caps.
Johnson’s clean CR is dependent on Democratic votes just like the last funding measure that cost Kevin McCarthy his position as former Speaker in early October. House conservatives, who were instrumental in removing McCarthy, despise CRs. On Tuesday, the House Freedom Caucus, a far-right group, said its members opposed the laddered CR despite the fact that it was first proposed by Freedom Caucus.
The Freedom Caucus stated that the bill “contains zero spending reductions, border security and no meaningful victory for the American People.”
Johnson, defending his strategy, argued that a CR could help Republicans in the future to tackle debt and spending.
“We are not giving up, we are fighting.” “But you must be careful in choosing your fights,” said the speaker. You have to choose fights you know you can win.
He said, “This was an important first step in getting us to the next phase so we can change Washington’s working style.”
There has been no talk among Republicans to remove Johnson over the CR. Johnson’s tenure as president is less than three months.
I don’t like this bill. Bob Good, R.-Va. Rep., was one of eight Republicans that voted against McCarthy. “Speaker Johnson is in the job since what, two weeks or three? … “The reason Speaker Johnson is in this position is because Speaker McCarthy failed for nine months.”
Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn. ), another member of McCarthy’s “Hateful Eight” group, also blamed the former speaker.
Burchett stated, “Speaker McCarthy has been working on this since January, but he only started two weeks before the deadline, after we took six weeks off. We should have worked here,” Burchett added.
Burchett believes that Johnson’s CR will make people uncomfortable. However, he also thinks Johnson can survive the election in 2024.
He said, “I think that he will be a fantastic speaker.”