The House of Representatives moves towards the approval of a bill to avoid the closure with Democratic support | ET REALITY

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The House on Tuesday was moving toward passing legislation to keep federal funds flowing through early next year, after Democrats said they would intervene to rescue a plan many Republicans oppose to avoid an eventual shutdown. of the week.

Democratic support was expected to be enough to overcome resistance from Republican conservatives and push the bill through an expedited procedure requiring a supermajority. With funding for federal agencies set to expire at midnight Friday, President Mike Johnson was using the maneuver as a last resort, betting that a substantial number of Democrats would rally to help him pass a package his own party refused to approve. accept.

The move by the newly elected president, who won office just three weeks ago, came after far-right lawmakers increasingly said they would not support the move because it kept government spending at current levels.

“I want to cut spending right now and I would like to include political provisions” in the bill, Johnson said. “But when you have a three-vote majority, like we have now, we don’t have the votes. So what we have to do is avoid a government shutdown.”

Under the procedure he chose, the legislation would need a two-thirds majority to pass.

Shortly before the vote, House Democratic leaders announced that their caucus would support the measure. Many of them had questioned the proposal because it contains staggered deadlines for funding different parts of the federal government, one on January 19 and another on February 2. But they said Democrats would vote for it because it did not include any spending cuts or policy changes (both demands of far-right Republicans) and because they saw no other way to avoid a shutdown.

“We have consistently made clear that a government shutdown would harm the economy, our national security, and ordinary Americans during a very fragile time and must be avoided,” the top Democrats, led by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, wrote in a statement. , The House of Representatives. minority leader.

Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, told reporters he wanted the Senate to vote on the bill “as soon as possible.”

Despite the White House’s criticism of the Johnson plan when it was released last weekend, Schumer said he had consulted with the administration and “we both agreed, the White House and I, that if this can avoid a shutdown , be something good.”

Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, predicted the measure would receive bipartisan agreement and defended it as a way to give Republicans more time to pass the dozen individual spending measures that lawmakers are supposed to enact each year to fund the government. He also argued that the bill’s omission of funding for Israel or Ukraine gave Republicans more leverage to debate those foreign aid packages without the threat of a shutdown looming over the party.

Approval of the plan is likely to depend on a similar coalition of traditional Democrats and Republicans as that used by Johnson’s predecessor, President Kevin McCarthy, to avoid a shutdown in September and suspend the debt ceiling at the beginning of the year. Those measures cost McCarthy his job.

Johnson has inherited the same spending dilemmas that beset McCarthy, a California Republican. Far-right Republicans have insisted on loading individual government spending bills with deep cuts and conservative policy provisions that mainstream and politically vulnerable Republicans have refused to support.

At the same time, some conservatives have steadfastly refused to support any kind of stopgap spending measure, including one that McCarthy proposed in September that included drastic cuts to government programs (in many cases as much as 29 percent).

On Tuesday, some of those same hardline conservatives who moved to unseat McCarthy expressed their anger at Johnson. The House Freedom Caucus, a group of about three dozen far-right lawmakers, announced it would oppose the measure.

“It contains no spending reductions, no border security, and no single meaningful victory for the American people,” the group wrote in a statement. “Republicans must stop negotiating against ourselves for fear of what the Senate might do with the promise to ‘turn around today and fight tomorrow.'”

But in a sign that there was little desire to remove Johnson for relying on Democrats to pass the legislation, as they did with McCarthy, lawmakers continued: “While we remain committed to working with President Johnson, we need bold changes.” .”

Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, an influential conservative, said some of his colleagues believed Johnson’s promise that he would not introduce another stopgap bill to fund the government and he was only doing so because he had only become president a few weeks ago. .

“If you’re storming the beaches of Normandy and the commanding officer goes down and someone else takes control, don’t say, ‘Oh, well, you’re going to have a honeymoon period,’” Roy said. “You have to pick it up and go. And for me this was a strategic failure. We shouldn’t do this. $400 billion should not be approved under suspension of the rules. And that’s what we’re going to do”.

He continued: “We are trying to give the speaker some grace, but today it is a mistake, from the beginning.”

The report was contributed by Lucas Broadwater, Kayla Guo, Annie Karni and Carl Hulse.

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