Johnson presents bill to avoid government shutdown facing uncertain fate | ET REALITY


On Saturday, Speaker Mike Johnson presented House Republicans with a complicated plan to avoid a government shutdown late next week, proposing a bill that would temporarily extend funding for some federal agencies through the end of January. and for others until early February.

The measure faces an uncertain fate in Congress. Many conservative House Republicans have demanded that any spending plan include deep cuts, and Democrats and some Republican senators have sharply questioned the idea of ​​bifurcating federal programs and staggering timelines for funding them.

A vote on the plan could take place as early as Tuesday, just days before a midnight Friday deadline to keep the government funded.

Setting two different end dates in what Johnson calls a “two-step rolling resolution” was an effort to allay concerns from far-right lawmakers who have long criticized the now-routine practice of funding the entire government through of a single gigantic one. bill. Some members of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus have endorsed the two-step idea in recent days.

“The bill will end the absurd Christmas season-wide tradition of massive, overstuffed spending bills introduced just before the Christmas recess,” Johnson wrote on social media after a private conference call with lawmakers to outline the plan.

He 32 page legislation. would extend government funding for a number of federal programs, including military and veterans construction programs, agriculture, transportation, housing, and energy and water development, through Jan. 19. All other federal programs would be funded through February 2.

The bill omits funding for Ukraine or Israel, which Johnson presented as a way for Republicans to put themselves in a stronger negotiating position for negotiations with the Senate and White House over an emergency spending bill in national security that would not be subject to the threat of closure.

But it remains to be seen whether enough House Republicans — including many who have opposed any stopgap funding measure and others who have insisted that such a bill sharply reduce spending — would support it.

It was also not immediately clear whether any House Democrats would support the proposal if Republican lawmakers opposed it and their votes were needed to approve the plan. Hours after Johnson unveiled the legislation, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre criticized it as “a recipe for more Republican chaos and more shutdowns.”

“Just days away from 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 a flimsy proposal that has been criticized. by members of both parties,” Ms. Jean said. -Pierre said in a statement.

If all Democrats were present and opposed the plan, Johnson could afford to lose no more than four Republican votes. He admitted during Saturday’s conference call that his measure would likely not receive unanimous support from Republicans, according to people familiar with his comments on the private call who described them on condition of anonymity.

One Republican, Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, has already stated that he would oppose the plan because it would maintain current spending levels without changes or conditions, known in Washington as a “clean” funding extension.

“It’s 100% clean,” Roy wrote on social media. “And I am 100% opposed.”

Johnson’s predecessor as president, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, was removed from office last month after it became clear he could not pass a stopgap spending bill with Republican votes alone and instead relied on Democrats to pass legislation that would prevent a shutdown.

But Johnson’s internal position in the Republican conference is very different from McCarthy’s at the time.

The far-right members of the Freedom Caucus who ousted McCarthy have repeatedly said they are willing to give Johnson more freedom in spending negotiations than they gave McCarthy. They trust his conservative bona fides in a way they never trusted McCarthy’s, and they also recognize that Johnson took office less than three weeks ago, leaving him little time to prepare for a showdown over spending with the Senate and the House. White House.

In the Senate, lawmakers from both parties who sit on the powerful Appropriations Committee have expressed skepticism about the idea of ​​a funding plan with staggered deadlines. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the panel’s chairwoman, told Roll Call earlier this week that the idea was “the craziest, stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, the panel’s top Republican, said a stop-and-go plan would “increase the difficulty” of funding the government.

But the legislation also does not include any spending cuts or conservative policies that congressional Democrats have publicly warned Johnson not to include.

Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, warned Thursday that “far-right proposals, radical far-right cuts, far-right poison pills that have no support from Democrats “They will only make a closure more likely.”

“I hope they don’t go down that path in the next week,” Schumer said.

The House Rules Committee will take up the legislation Monday afternoon and schedule a vote on the House floor on Tuesday.

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