House GOP spending push hits roadblock as government shutdown looms

November 10, 2023

The GOP-controlled House was compelled to delay another government funding bill on Thursday as Congress faces a government shutdown deadline next week.

If Congress does not pass a fiscal year 2024 federal budget in the next several days, the government will shut down at midnight next Friday.

Thursday’s delay on the bill to fund the federal government comes as House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) is expected to unveil this Friday and Saturday another stopgap spending bill—following an initial stopgap measure passed by Congress on September 30 that pushed the shutdown deadline to this coming Friday.

The spending battle is one of the first major challenges for the recently-elected House Speaker whose predecessor, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), was ousted after agreeing to send the initial stopgap to the House floor for a vote, where more Democrats voted in favor of its passage than Republicans. 

However, instead of proposing a path forward to keep the government open, Johnson has spent the past week pushing two individual spending bills that failed to attract enough GOP support to pass.

It was yet another reflection of the rifts among House Republicans that numerous GOP lawmakers have acknowledged are making their razor-thin five-seat majority virtually ungovernable.

“We have a lot of people that want to pass things with Republicans only,” House Rules Committee Chair Tom Cole (R-OK), a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, said. “That’s one thing when there’s 240 or 250 votes. When it’s 220 and you’ve got as many individual personalities—and to be fair, different interests and different districts—that’s a risky game to play.”

Across Capitol Hill, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has taken initial procedural steps to allow the upper chamber to move forward with its own stopgap measure, should the lower chamber fail to come to an agreement of its own. 

“I implore Speaker Johnson and our House Republican colleagues to learn from the fiasco of a month ago,” Schumer said. “Hard-right proposals, hard-right slashing cuts, hard-right poison pills that have zero support from Democrats will only make a shutdown more likely. I hope they don’t go down that path in the week to come.”

But it remains to be seen whether Johnson would be willing to put forth a stopgap measure that Democrats can accept—particularly since it was that very action that sparked the doom of McCarthy’s Speakership.

Read more exclusive news from Political IQ.

 

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