Johnson Unveils Plan to Avert Government Shutdown
WASHINGTON — House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., unveiled a two-step short-term continuing resolution on Saturday that would keep federal departments and agencies funded into early next year and stave off a partial government shutdown later this week.
But the proposal, which the speaker announced during a Saturday call with his conference, was immediately vilified on social media by conservative House Republicans, who blasted it as funding the government “at Pelosi level” in exchange for nothing more than “future promises.”
The current spending plan — which cost former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., his job, expires at midnight Friday, and many government operations will come to a grinding halt if House Republicans cannot agree on a plan that also gets approval from President Biden and the Democratic Senate.
Johnson’s plan would not impose the sharp spending cuts sought by members of the House Freedom Caucus and other fiscal conservatives in his conference, nor does it include tough new anti-immigration measures at the southern U.S. border, another must to appease GOP hard liners.
Johnson’s proposal is framed as a two-tier solution to the current time-crunch Congress is facing before the end of the year.
It would extend government funding through Jan. 19 for the Departments of Agriculture, Transportation, Veterans Affairs and Energy and several other federal agencies.
At the same time, funding for the Labor and Justice Departments would be extended through Feb. 2 so that the conference can work through marked differences on those two spending plans.
The bill also extends the authorization of programs and authorities in the farm bill until Sept. 30, 2024, the end of the fiscal year — effectively extending all programs included in the bill that passed in 2018.
It does not include funding for either Israel or Ukraine.
“This two-step continuing resolution is a necessary bill to place House Republicans in the best position to fight for conservative victories,” Johnson said in a post on the X social media platform. “The bill will stop the absurd holiday season omnibus tradition of massive, loaded up spending bills introduced right before the Christmas recess.
“Separating out the CR from the supplemental funding debates places our conference in the best position to fight for fiscal responsibility, oversight over Ukraine aid, and meaningful policy changes at our Southern border,” he continued, adding, “With our debt spiraling out of control, the rising costs of ‘Bidenomics’ hurting families, and our Southern border wide open, House Republicans must position ourselves best to fight for the American people.”
Among the most vociferous in the opposition to the plan was Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, who said of the proposal in one post, “It’s 100% clean and I 100% oppose it.”
In another he added, “My opposition to the clean CR just announced by the speaker to the House Republican conference cannot be overstated.”
He said it would effectively extend “Pelosi level spending and policies for 75 days — for future ‘promises.’”
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., also took to X, saying, “I voted no to other CRs before and I’m voting no to this clean CR. We need to finish appropriations and the Senate needs to do their job.”
“NO MONEY TO UKRAINE! CLOSE THE BORDER! STOP THE WEAPONIZED GOVERNMENT!” she said in bold letters for emphasis.
In a statement from the White House, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called the proposal “a recipe for more Republican chaos and more shutdowns — full stop.
“With just days left before an extreme Republican shutdown — and after shutting down Congress for three weeks after they ousted their own leader — House Republicans are wasting precious time with an unserious proposal that has been panned by members of both parties,” Jean-Pierre said.
“An extreme Republican shutdown would put critical national security and domestic priorities at risk, including by forcing service members to work without pay,” she continued. “This comes just days after House Republicans were forced to pull two of their own extreme appropriations bills from the floor — further deepening their dysfunction.
“House Republicans need to stop wasting time on their own political divisions, do their jobs, and work in a bipartisan way to prevent a shutdown,” Jean-Pierre concluded.
Also weighing in was Russ Vought, president of the conservative Center for Renewing America and former director of the Office of Management and Budget during the Trump administration.
“Unfortunately, today’s House CR fully funds Biden’s woke and weaponized bureaucracy on the heels of yet another credit agency warning,” Vought said. “Nor does it even try to stagger the expiration dates to force a national debate on the border and DOJ’s excesses.
“Bad bill, bad strategy,” he added.