Thu. Apr 25th, 2024

Speaker Mike Johnson unveils plan to avert shutdown next week

By 37ci3 Feb24,2024

WASHINGTON — Speaker Mike Johnson on Thursday unveiled a plan to partially prevent it government shutdown told Republicans on a conference call next week that the House will vote on four separate appropriations bills and may need a stopgap funding bill to buy lawmakers more time, according to two sources.

Despite Johnson’s strategy, lawmakers warned of the threat of a short-term shutdown later in the week given Congress’ tight schedule. House members aren’t scheduled to return to Washington until Tuesday, and the Senate could face delays if hawks like Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., try to block the funding measure’s speedy passage.

Rep. Dave Joyce of Ohio, acting chairman of the Appropriations Committee’s Homeland Security Subcommittee, said Friday that “while we’ve been working hard on our bills, there are differences that are causing some concern.”

Four of the 12 appropriations bills to fund agencies spanning the Agriculture, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, Energy-Water and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development sectors face a deadline on Friday. The deadline for the remaining eight appropriations bills, which cover critical agencies such as the Departments of Defense, State and Justice, is March 8. This is the first tranche of bills the House of Representatives will vote on next week.

Sources said Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana, did not want to cross another stoppage measureknown as continuing resolution or CR.

But CR “may need another week or two,” said one of the sources on the call.

Earlier this week, members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus called on Johnson to support a year-long recess bill unless he can secure conservative politicians. The Freedom Caucus likes the idea of ​​a full-year CR because under last year’s bipartisan debt agreement, a 1% reduction would begin if all appropriations bills were not passed by the end of April.

But during the call on Friday, Johnson pushed back on the year-long CR, raising concerns about defense spending cuts, the sources said.

Johnson lamented that the GOP is in a weaker negotiating position with the Democratic-led Senate because House Republicans have struggled to pass even a single rule to pass the GOP legislation through the lower chamber. Johnson told ranking members that the Senate is rejecting GOP politicians because they know the House can’t pass a rule.

Passing spending bills without passing a rule would be risky because passage would then require the support of two-thirds of the House, meaning Democrats would have to sign off. Republicans hold just a two-seat majority in the lower house.

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By 37ci3

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