House Speaker Mike Johnson’s bid to avert government shutdown

House Speaker Mike Johnson’s bid to avert government shutdown

UPDATE: Monday, Nov 13, 2023 · 10:17:54 PM +00:00

Joan McCarter

Schumer is not moving forward with cloture on a CR today, after all. “We are pausing on our plans to move forward on the Senate vehicle to allow the House to move first with their proposal,” he announced. The fact that Johnson didn’t go for massive cuts, or any cuts for that matter, reduces the urgency of a Senate option somewhat. But Johnson’s proposal is in trouble with the House GOP, for precisely that reason. Because it’s uncertain to make it through the Rules Committee, House leadership is considering putting it on the floor under suspension of the rules, which would require a lot of Democratic votes to put it over the 2/3 threshold.

New House Speaker Mike Johnson might be inexperienced and a right-wing zealot, but he’s smart enough to know that the government shutting down in the first month under his watch would be bad. This past Saturday, he unveiled his plan for a clean continuing resolution, without the steep spending cuts hardliners in his conference have demanded. That in itself eases the threat of a shutdown when the current funding measure expires at midnight Friday. It means he’s not going to insist on the kinds of ruinous cuts Democrats have rejected in previous efforts, and that there’s room for finding compromise with them.

He did give the Freedom Caucus a nod by adopting their idea for a “laddered” CR with two tranches. The first set of programs—military and veterans, Agriculture, Transportation, and Housing—would be extended through Jan. 19. The second tranche extends funding for the State, Justice, Commerce, Labor, and Health and Human Services departments through Feb. 2. It does not include the supplemental funding President Joe Biden has requested for Ukraine and Israel, but does have a sweetener for the Senate and farm-state members in extending authorization of the farm bill through September 2024. It would expire at the end of the year without an extension.

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