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US House Speaker Johnson floats two-step measure to avert gov't shutdown

Published Nov 11, 2023 06:08AM ET Updated Nov 11, 2023 08:00PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Newly-elected U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) walks from his office to the House floor at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., October 26, 2023.REUTERS/Sarah Silbiger
 
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By David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson unveiled a Republican stopgap spending measure on Saturday aimed at averting a government shutdown a week from now, but the measure quickly ran into opposition from lawmakers from both parties in Congress.

Unlike ordinary continuing resolutions, or "CRs," that fund federal agencies for a specific period, the measure announced by Johnson would fund some parts of the government until Jan. 19 and others until Feb. 2. House Republicans hope to pass the measure on Tuesday.

"This two-step continuing resolution is a necessary bill to place House Republicans in the best position to fight for conservative victories," Johnson said in a statement after announcing the plan to House Republicans in a conference call.

The House Republican stopgap contained no supplemental funding such as aid for Israel or Ukraine.

The House and Democratic-led Senate must agree on a spending vehicle that President Joe Biden can sign into law by Friday, or risk a fourth partial government shutdown in a decade that would close national parks, disrupt pay for as many as 4 million federal workers and disrupt a swath of activities from financial oversight to scientific research.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a release that the proposal was "just a recipe for more Republican chaos and more shutdowns." She said "House Republicans are wasting precious time with an unserious proposal that has been panned by members of both parties."

Johnson, the top Republican in Congress, unveiled his stopgap a day after Moody's (NYSE:MCO), the last major credit ratings agency to maintain a top "AAA" rating on the U.S. government, lowered its outlook on the nation's credit to "negative" from "stable," citing political polarization in Congress on spending as a danger to the nation's fiscal health.

The Louisiana Republican appeared to be appealing to two warring House Republican factions: hardliners who wanted legislation with multiple end-dates; and centrists who had called for a "clean" stopgap measure free of spending cuts and conservative policy riders that Democrats reject.

The legislation would extend funding for military construction, veterans benefits, transportation, housing, urban development, agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration and energy and water programs through Jan. 19. Funding for all other federal operations would expire on Feb. 2.

But the plan quickly came under fire from members of both parties.

"My opposition to the clean CR just announced by the Speaker to the @HouseGOP cannot be overstated," Representative Chip Roy, a member of the hardline House Freedom Caucus, said on the social media platform X.

"It's a 100% clean. And I 100% oppose," wrote Roy, who had called for the new measure to include spending cuts.

Democratic Senator Brian Schatz called Johnson's measure "super convoluted," adding that "all of this nonsense costs taxpayer money."

"We are going to pass a clean short term CR. The only question is whether we do it stupidly and catastrophically or we do it like adults," Schatz wrote on X.

A stopgap measure would give lawmakers more time to implement full-scale appropriations bills to fund the government through Sept. 30.

Johnson put Democrats on notice that failure to reach agreement on 2024 spending would prompt House Republicans to implement "a full-year CR with appropriate adjustments to meet our national security priorities."

House Republican hardliners have been pushing to cut fiscal 2024 spending below the $1.59 trillion level that Biden and Johnson's predecessor agreed in the May deal that averted default. But even that is a small slice of the overall federal budget, which also includes mandatory outlays for Social Security and Medicare, and topped $6.1 trillion in fiscal 2023.

Johnson, who won the speaker's gavel less than three weeks ago, could put his own political future at risk if his current plan fails to win support for passage and he is forced to go with a standard CR that Democrats can accept.

His predecessor, Kevin McCarthy, was ousted from the job by eight Republican hardliners early last month, after he moved a bipartisan measure to avert a shutdown on Oct. 1, when fiscal 2024 began. McCarthy opted for the bipartisan route after hardliners blocked a Republican stopgap measure with features intended to appease them.

US House Speaker Johnson floats two-step measure to avert gov't shutdown
 

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Comments (11)
Mike Roddy
Mike Roddy Nov 12, 2023 9:57PM ET
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There's really only one way to fix the deficit. We need a wealth tax on anyone with over a billion dollars. the cuts just aren't there. It doesn't help you to have enough wealth for the next 10 thousand generations if the country rolls over and ends as a nation. Sure, you'll own all the wealth in the world. But when the world ends in 20-30 years, what good is a fat bank account?
Raymond Pasillas
Raymond Pasillas Nov 11, 2023 9:07PM ET
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Gold is a win win.
adriaan kuhn
adriaan kuhn Nov 11, 2023 5:40PM ET
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buy bonds!
CHARLES DENHAM
CHARLES DENHAM Nov 11, 2023 5:26PM ET
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it's simple, don't spend more than you take in. cuts are definitely appropriate.
Carl Tom
Carl Tom Nov 11, 2023 5:26PM ET
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tell that to Trump 8 Trillion plan that flew through GOP goons
John Weed
John Weed Nov 11, 2023 5:26PM ET
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MAGA
First Last
First Last Nov 11, 2023 5:26PM ET
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Retrumplicans are not just trying to cut future spending w/ new spending bills or amend passed spending bills; they're refusing to pay for what's already in passed spending bills.
Warm Camp
Warm Camp Nov 11, 2023 4:52PM ET
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No more money for Biden’s wars.
First Last
First Last Nov 11, 2023 4:52PM ET
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There are no "Biden's wars".
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Nov 11, 2023 4:52PM ET
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Warm Camp, the master of misunderstanding.
Carl Tom
Carl Tom Nov 11, 2023 4:52PM ET
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Warm camp cozy up to Putin rear
John Weed
John Weed Nov 11, 2023 4:52PM ET
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MAGA
Ken Roth
Ken Roth Nov 11, 2023 9:43AM ET
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Republicans Stop this madness do your work and approve the government funding every dollar spent has already been approved before. No thanks to MAGA nuts trying to bring down USA
jay bolatto
jay bolatto Nov 11, 2023 9:43AM ET
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WOW !!! BRAINWASHING AT IT'S FINEST!!
First Last
First Last Nov 11, 2023 9:43AM ET
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Yup.  Instead of just refusing to pay for what's already in passed spending bills, should be passing new spending bills.
Alexis Mata
Alexis Mata Nov 11, 2023 9:15AM ET
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Hello
Randy Walekr
Randy Walekr Nov 11, 2023 8:41AM ET
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In this grand theater of the absurd,Where often, reason’s pleas go unheard,The currency of power reigns supreme,In corridors where war-lit dreams ever gleam.
First Last
First Last Nov 11, 2023 8:41AM ET
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Most of those "halls" and "corridors" exists outside the US.
Randy Walekr
Randy Walekr Nov 11, 2023 8:38AM ET
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This dance of dollars, endless, vast,Shadows over futures cast,In whispered halls, they all agree,To spend on war, in unity.
Carl Tom
Carl Tom Nov 11, 2023 8:38AM ET
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Tax the Churchs.. Problem solved
Ted Hawk
Ted Hawk Nov 11, 2023 8:08AM ET
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If history is any guide, Congress will choose the easiest way out. Those hoping for fiscal sanity will be sorely disappointed.
First Last
First Last Nov 11, 2023 8:08AM ET
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The retrumplican House was too busy wasting time on finding a lousy Speaker to work on fiscal sanity.
Carl Tom
Carl Tom Nov 11, 2023 8:08AM ET
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First Last But they found a true Trumplafuk in deep South
Carl Tom
Carl Tom Nov 11, 2023 8:08AM ET
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First Last Trumplagoon Found
John Weed
John Weed Nov 11, 2023 8:08AM ET
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End welfare
 
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