NATIONAL NEWS

Speaker Mike Johnson enters big government shutdown test days ahead of deadline

Nov 13, 2023, 5:08 PM

House Speaker Mike Johnson’s two-step plan to keep the government open beyond November 17 will fa...

House Speaker Mike Johnson’s two-step plan to keep the government open beyond November 17 will face a major hurdle on the House floor this week. Johnson is seen here at the U.S. Capitol on Nov. 2. (Michael Brochstein, Sipa USA/AP)

(Michael Brochstein, Sipa USA/AP)

 (CNN) — House Speaker Mike Johnson’s two-step plan to keep the government open beyond Nov. 17 will face a major hurdle on the House floor this week, a critical moment for the new speaker who is facing his first major legislative test with just four days to avert a government shutdown.

Johnson told his leadership team on Monday night that he sees “a path” to get his government funding plan passed and signed into law, expressing confidence it will succeed despite some Republicans being opposed to the bill and the procedural vote, according to a member in attendance. He also told lawmakers he believes all four congressional leaders — House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Senate Majority Leader Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — are on board with his proposal, the member said.

Disagreement from within the GOP

However, Johnson is still facing a rebellion from his right wing as conservatives quickly criticized his plan on social media and vowed to vote against it, leaving him in a position where he will likely need Democratic votes to pass the bill before the Friday deadline.

“The current short-term funding proposal includes a 1-year extension of the Farm Bill (no reform), status quo policies, and status quo funding levels. Disappointing is as polite as I can muster. I will be voting NO,” said Rep. Warren Davidson, a Republican from Ohio. “Hopefully, the consensus will result in a more reasonable bill.”

Other conservatives also blasted the bill, including Rep. Chip Roy, an influential member of the House Freedom Caucus.

“My opposition to the clean CR just announced by the Speaker to the House GOP cannot be overstated. Funding Pelosi level spending and policies for 75 days – for future ‘promises,’” he tweeted Saturday.

Democrats won’t say what they will do

Complicating things for Johnson, Democrats remain noncommittal on whether they will back his idea, leaving him in a position where his first major piece of legislation may not even be able to get out of the House at all.

Many dismissed the two-step plan last week as messy and unnecessary. But, multiple members told CNN that lawmakers remain open minded, given the fact the plan did not include steep spending cuts, a red line.

Johnson’s spending plan would fund government agencies through spending bills for the military, Veterans Affairs, transportation, housing and urban development and energy and water through mid-January. Then, funding for the remaining government agencies would expire on a second date on February 2.

It’s a plan that many Democrats have blasted as a gimmick, but have also acknowledged can’t be dismissed outright given that time is limited and control of Congress is divided.

“We are going to proceed in the Senate on a clean CR, without gimmicks, without ladders,” Sen. Chris Murphy said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “It does worry me that the House process requires you to come back and deal with half the budget on one date, and half the budget on another date. That sounds to me a little bit of a recipe for failure. But I’m willing to listen to the case that they’re making, I would much rather do what the Senate is doing, just pass a (continuing resolution) that keeps the entire government open to the same date.”

On the sidelines

Sources told CNN that Democrats remain on the sidelines for now as they wait to see how Johnson will manage his own conference.

Schumer signaled his openness to Johnson’s bill on Monday, saying that Johnson’s plan is “moving in our direction” by not including spending cuts and pushing the defense spending bill to the second, later deadline in February.

“The speaker’s proposal is far from perfect, but the most important thing is that it refrains from making steep cuts while also extending funding for defense in the second tranche of bills in February, not the first in January,” he added.

One of the first major tests for Johnson will be whether he can even pass a procedural vote for the spending bill known as the rule. Typically, it’s up to the majority party to pass it, but conservatives – under former Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s tenure – often voted down GOP rules to solidify their political point.

It’s not clear if they will give Johnson more room to maneuver or whether their opposition to the rule would force Johnson to try and bring the bill under a suspension of the rules, which would require a two-thirds majority to pass.

McCarthy passed the last short-term spending bill under a suspension of the rules, a decision that ultimately cost him his job.

During a private call Saturday, Johnson tried to make the case to his members that the conference had lost critical time during a three-week speaker’s race to pass individual spending bills and that a short-term spending bill in two parts would give Republicans maximum leverage in negotiations over individual, year-long spending bills next year.

Another course of action

But Johnson also made clear to members that if Democrats in the Senate rejected his plan, his next course of action would be a year-long spending bill with cuts to non-defense programs, something that Democrats would also never back.

Over the course of the last week, House Republicans have struggled just like they did under McCarthy to unify on spending. Divisions over two, year-long spending bills to fund transportation and housing and then financial services and general government had to be pulled last week over GOP infighting. That, some Democrats have argued, is a sign that Republicans don’t have the leverage in this fight.

“By adopting the Freedom Caucus’s extreme ‘laddered CR’ approach, Speaker Johnson is setting up a system that will double the number of shutdown showdowns,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, said in a statement Sunday.

“As last week made clear when they wasted time debating two spending bills that were so appalling that they had to remove them from the floor to avoid failing on final passage, House Republicans cannot enact their radical agenda,” DeLauro said.

“We are nowhere closer to a full-year funding agreement than we were at the end of September. Congress must avoid a shutdown and pass a CR that facilitates enacting full-year spending bills and emergency assistance as soon as possible.”

While congressional Democrats keep their powder dry for the time being, the White House actively lambasted Johnson’s proposal over the weekend, calling it “unserious.”

“Very much untested”

On Monday, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called Republicans’ proposal for a two-step CR “very much untested,” but told reporters the administration remained “in close contact with Democrats in both the House and the Senate” over ongoing negotiations.

But, pressed on if Biden would veto the proposal, Jean-Pierre wouldn’t say, instead referring reporters to comments from President Joe Biden earlier Monday that he planned to “wait and see what they come up with,” in Congress before deciding.

The White House has yet to issue a statement of administration policy, a document that states whether President Joe Biden would sign or veto a piece of legislation should it pass both chambers and arrive on his desk, on the bill. It remains unclear at this time if he would sign this two-pronged bill, despite the White House’s public opposition.

The two-step continuing resolution does not include the funding for Israel or Ukraine that the White House says is urgently needed.

CNN’s Manu Raju, Donald Judd and Betsy Klein contributed to this report.

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark reacts to fans during an Iowa women's basketball team celebration, Wednesd...

Doug Feinberg, The Associated Press

Iowa star Caitlin Clark makes surprise appearance on ‘Saturday Night Live’

The Iowa star made a surprise appearance on “Saturday Night Live” during the show's “ Weekend Update ” segment.

6 hours ago

Congressional leaders from both parties still remain at odds on how to pass additional Israel fundi...

Michelle Shen and Melanie Zanona, CNN

Congressional leaders at odds over Israel aid next steps, conservatives issue warning to Speaker Johnson

Congressional leaders from both parties were quick to condemn Iran’s retaliatory strikes on Israel this Saturday but still remain at odds on how to pass additional Israel funding in wake of the attacks.

12 hours ago

This image released by A24 shows Kirsten Dunst in a scene from "Civil War." (Murray Close/A24 via A...

Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press

‘Civil War’ declares victory at box office

Alex Garland’s provocative “ Civil War ” didn’t only ignite the discourse. The film also inspired audiences to go to the cinemas this weekend where it surpassed expectations and earned $25.7 million in ticket sales in North America, according to studio estimates Sunday.

13 hours ago

Tyrese Simmons, the man accused of firing into a Dallas apartment and killing a 9-year-old girl in ...

Robbie Owens, KTVT via CNN

Rapper accused of fatally shooting 9-year-old girl could get plea deal

Tyrese Simmons, a man accused of firing into a Dallas apartment and killing a 9-year-old girl in a feud with another rapper, could get a plea deal.

14 hours ago

U.S. President Joe Biden speaking on April 12....

MJ Lee and Kevin Liptak, CNN

Biden tells Netanyahu US will not participate in counter-strike against Iran

President Joe Biden and senior members of his national security team, seeking to contain the risk of a wider regional war following a barrage of Iranian missiles and drones directed toward Israel, have told their counterparts the US will not participate in any offensive action against Iran, according to US officials familiar with the matter.

18 hours ago

FILE - In this July 20, 2017 file photo, former NFL football star O.J. Simpson reacts after learnin...

Associated Press

Executor of O.J. Simpson’s estate plans to fight payout to the families of Brown and Goldman

The executor of O.J. Simpson’s estate says he will work to prevent a payout of a $33.5 million judgment awarded by a California civil jury nearly three decades ago in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the families of Simpson’s ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Speaker Mike Johnson enters big government shutdown test days ahead of deadline