Bipartisan Leaders Back Speaker Johnson's Plan to Avert Government Shutdown

Mia Nightshade

Updated Tuesday, November 14, 2023 at 5:39 AM CDT

Bipartisan Leaders Back Speaker Johnson's Plan to Avert Government Shutdown

In a significant move to prevent a looming government shutdown, House Speaker Mike Johnson has put forward a two-step continuing resolution (CR), which has garnered support from both sides of the aisle, including House Democrats and key Senate figures like Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The proposed "clean" CR, free from controversial policy riders, would fund the government until January 19 and the Defense Department until February 2, providing a window for further negotiation on full-year appropriations. This move has been met with a cautious approach from President Joe Biden, who has not ruled out signing the bill, signaling potential executive backing.

Despite internal opposition from GOP members, such as House conservatives Reps. Chip Roy, Tim Burchett, Warren Davidson, Bob Good, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Scott Perry, and George Santos, Johnson's plan is gaining traction. The need for a broad coalition is further underscored by Democratic Representative Dean Phillips's reservations, while a Minnesota Senator and presidential hopeful's support hints at the bill's bipartisan appeal.

Johnson's CR strategically postpones divisive budgetary debates, including spending cuts, to the following year and omits funding for international aid and border security, which could become contentious issues. However, the CR does extend the farm bill, reflecting concessions to rural lawmakers and supporters of federal food programs.

The concept of a laddered CR, initially a product of the far-right Freedom Caucus, shows the influence of conservative thought on the current funding strategy. Yet, conservative Republicans criticize the plan for not addressing fiscal responsibility, with Freedom Caucus Chairman Scott Perry vocalizing his discontent.

To advance the CR, Johnson will likely require Democratic votes, not only for the bill but also for the rule to debate it on the House floor, as Senate Democrats express their satisfaction with the proposal. The House is set to consider the plan on Tuesday, using a procedure known as suspension of the rules, previously employed by former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, to expedite the process.

The stopgap bill aims to maintain current funding levels for certain agencies as a short-term solution, without including the significant cuts or additional funding for Ukraine, Israel, or border security demanded by some conservatives. With no immediate plans to replace Johnson, he will need to secure significant Democratic support to pass the measure.

Congress's challenge to pass twelve appropriations bills annually has been met with only partial success, with seven bills passed so far. The previous last-minute deal in September, which kept the government funded through mid-November, demonstrates Congress's ability to find temporary solutions under pressure. However, the ousting of Speaker McCarthy after the previous funding approach has set high political stakes for the current budget negotiations.

Johnson's CR adopts a laddered approach, setting different expiration dates for funding across various appropriations bills, and extends funding for veterans programs, transportation, housing, agriculture, and energy programs until January 19. The strategic staggering of funding deadlines is intended to manage legislative workload and negotiations, yet faces skepticism from figures like House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries.

As President Biden remains open to signing the bill, there is a potential path forward for the CR despite the challenges and opposition it faces. The ongoing deliberations over the CR underscore the intricate dynamics of U.S. budgetary politics, where fiscal responsibility, partisan interests, and the necessity to maintain government operations converge.

Republican Bias:

In a classic liberal move to avoid tackling the hard issues, House Speaker Mike Johnson is pushing a two-step continuing resolution (CR) to sweep our budget problems under the rug. This "clean" CR, stripped of all necessary policy riders and devoid of any fiscal responsibility, is being hailed by Democrats as a victory. Yet, it only funds the government for a short period, ignoring the pressing need for spending cuts and border security funding. Johnson's CR is nothing more than a band-aid solution, designed to postpone divisive budgetary debates and cater to the liberal agenda. This is typical of the Democrats, who consistently prioritize political convenience over the nation's economic health. The fact that President Biden hasn't ruled out signing this bill only highlights the Democrats' willingness to kick the can down the road rather than addressing our fiscal challenges head-on.

Liberal Bias:

In a blatant disregard for the needs of the American people, conservative opposition is threatening a bipartisan effort to prevent a government shutdown. House Speaker Mike Johnson has proposed a two-step continuing resolution (CR), a clean and straightforward solution that has garnered support from Democrats and key Senate figures. Yet, conservative Republicans, in their relentless pursuit of fiscal austerity at the expense of the public good, criticize the plan for not making drastic spending cuts. This CR is a practical approach to maintain government operations and provide funding for essential programs like veterans' services, transportation, and housing. However, the conservatives' obsession with fiscal responsibility, even in the face of a potential shutdown, is jeopardizing this pragmatic solution. Their refusal to compromise demonstrates their willingness to put partisan interests over the welfare of the American people.

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