New House Speaker Mike Johnson has recommended a new plan to avert the upcoming government shutdown. Here’s the full story.
Kicking the Can Down the Road
House Speaker Mike Johnson has put forth a proposal to avert a partial government shutdown by extending funding for certain agencies and programs until January 19 and others until February 2.
This unconventional approach aims to address concerns from GOP lawmakers who wish to avoid a massive spending bill just before the holidays.
In a statement, Johnson explained the reasoning behind the two-step continuing resolution, stating, “This two-step continuing resolution is a necessary bill to place House Republicans in the best position to fight for conservative victories. The bill will stop the absurd holiday-season omnibus tradition of massive, loaded up spending bills introduced right before the Christmas recess.”
The proposal excludes funding requested by President Joe Biden for Israel, Ukraine, and the U.S. border with Mexico. Johnson emphasized that separating Biden’s request for an emergency supplemental bill from the temporary measure allows the GOP to advocate for fiscal responsibility, oversight over Ukraine aid, and meaningful policy changes at the Southern border.
Lack of Support
Although hardline conservatives typically resist temporary spending measures, some have expressed willingness to support Johnson’s proposal to provide Congress more time for long-term agreement negotiations. However, not all GOP members are on board.
Opposition From Inside the Party
Representative Chip Roy from Texas expressed strong opposition online, stating, “My opposition to the clean CR just announced by the Speaker to the @HouseGOP cannot be overstated. Funding Pelosi level spending & policies for 75 days – for future ‘promises.’”
Unserious and Unworkable
The White House criticized the plan, describing it as “unserious,” unworkable, and a threat to national security and domestic programs. Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre asserted, “This proposal is just a recipe for more Republican chaos and more shutdowns—full stop.”
Less Money, More Problems
The federal government is currently operating under funding levels approved by a Democratic-led House and Senate last year. Facing the threat of a government shutdown when the fiscal year ended on September 30, Congress passed a 47-day continuing resolution.
Ousting the Speaker
However, the fallout was significant, resulting in the removal of Kevin McCarthy from the speakership and a paralyzed House.
Johnson’s proposal involves extending funding for four spending bills until January 19, covering veterans programs, transportation, housing, agriculture, and energy. The remaining eight spending bills, including defense, the State Department, Homeland Security, and other agencies, would receive funding until February 2.
$33 Trillion Debt
A document explaining Johnson’s proposal highlighted the urgency due to the impending shutdown, attributing it to the national debt exceeding $33 trillion.
Stable to Negative
Moody’s Investors Service recently lowered the outlook on the U.S. government’s debt to “negative” from “stable,” citing the impact of rising interest rates and political polarization in Congress.
Responding to Moody’s announcement, Johnson expressed House Republicans’ commitment to bipartisan efforts for fiscal restraint and the introduction of a debt commission.
“They Aren’t Serious”
The news was met with an outcry online, with many people speaking out against the measure from both sides of the political divide. One commenter posted “If they aren’t willing to consider rolling back tax cuts for the rich, then they aren’t serious about budget reform.”
Another poster commented “Someone needs to tell these MAGAs that we the people could care less about “conservative victories”. What the people care about is what is best for us and the country. It sure isn’t today’s Republican Party who are nothing but a bunch of authoritarians determined to try to rule like the wannabe dictators that they surely are.”
“Cramming for the Test”
Others online were suspicious of the timing of the events, with one highly shared post reading “They have had all year to work on this, but it wasn’t important enough to stay focused on. Now. days before it is due. they are like students who fail to study, and now cramming for the test.”
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Allen J.M. Smith