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Congress Aims to Avert Shutdown: House Set to Deliberate on Stopgap Funding Measure Tuesday 2024-04-20 12:12:32

"House Faces Critical Vote: Speaker Mike Johnson's Stopgap Funding Plan Heads to Floor Amidst Risk of Government Shutdown"

Late Monday night, House Speaker Mike Johnson's strategy to avert a government shutdown by presenting a stopgap funding measure is set to undergo House consideration on Tuesday. The plan involves deploying a continuing resolution, a temporary funding measure, using a procedural move known as suspension of the rules. This procedural maneuver bypasses the House Rules Committee, where Republicans had signaled reluctance to advance the bill.

However, opting for suspension entails certain conditions: the measure cannot be amended, and it necessitates a two-thirds majority to secure passage in the House. Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy employed a similar approach for the last continuing resolution in late September, with all House Democrats voting in favor. Although effective in preventing a shutdown, McCarthy's use of this tactic led to a vote of no confidence and his removal from the speakership.

Speaker Johnson faces a comparable challenge, needing Democratic support to pass the stopgap measure. Unlike McCarthy, there is no clear indication that Republicans are poised to challenge Johnson's leadership, given his relatively short tenure as speaker. Johnson's proposal, revealed on Saturday, extends government funding at current levels for select agencies until January 19, while others would receive funding until February 2. Notably, the bill lacks the steep spending cuts demanded by conservatives and does not allocate funds for Ukraine, Israel, and the southern border.

In his statement, the Louisiana Republican emphasized the plan's departure from the customary holiday-season omnibus tradition of large spending bills introduced before the Christmas recess. However, opposition from some Republicans, including Rep. Chip Roy of Texas and others, poses a challenge. Roy expressed reluctance, stating he could accept a temporary extension if accompanied by tangible victories, signaling potential friction within GOP ranks.

With a group of Republican representatives opposing the measure, Johnson's success hinges on securing Democratic backing. As the House approaches this critical vote, the outcome remains uncertain, introducing a heightened sense of urgency and potential consequences for both parties.

"As Fiscal Year Nears End, Congress Grapples with Funding Deadlock: Speaker Johnson Proposes Innovative 'Laddered' Approach to Avert Shutdown"

With the new fiscal year looming on October 1, Congress faces the critical task of passing appropriations bills to fund numerous federal agencies for the upcoming year. Typically bundled into a comprehensive "omnibus" bill, these appropriations measures play a pivotal role in government operations. Presently, the House has approved seven bills, while the Senate has passed three grouped in a "minibus," yet none have navigated through both chambers.

In September, Congress narrowly avoided a government shutdown through a last-minute bipartisan deal extending funding until mid-November. This compromise irked hard-right members, leading to the ousting of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and subsequent deadlock in the lower chamber for three weeks. Amidst the turmoil, House Speaker Mike Johnson recognizes the need for another stopgap spending bill, a continuing resolution, to prevent a shutdown.

Johnson introduces an innovative "laddered" approach, extending appropriations for veterans programs, transportation, housing, agriculture, and energy until January 19. Notably, funding for eight other appropriations bills, including defense, would be prolonged until February 2. While House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries dismisses the "laddered" approach as a "nonstarter," the bill's appeal to Democrats lies in its exclusion of spending cuts and amendments.

Despite the White House labeling the proposal as "unserious," President Biden suggests openness to signing it if approved by Congress. He stated, "I'm not going to make a judgment on what I'd veto and what I'd sign, let's wait and see what they come up with." As the fiscal deadline draws near, the intricacies of this funding deadlock and Johnson's unconventional approach heighten the uncertainty surrounding government operations in the coming year.

"Senate Democrats Exercise Caution as House Proposes Funding Extension: Majority Leader Schumer Acknowledges Imperfections but Emphasizes Crucial Exclusions"

As the House introduces a funding extension proposal, Senate Democrats, for the most part, have refrained from openly criticizing it. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, while deeming the bill "far from perfect," underscores its significance for excluding significant cuts and ensuring defense spending continuation in the February extension. Schumer announced a procedural vote on the Senate's short-term funding extension but opted for a delay, stating, "We are pausing on our plans to move forward on the Senate vehicle to allow the House to move first with their proposal."

This cautious approach in the Senate reflects a nuanced perspective on the proposed funding solution. Schumer's acknowledgment of imperfections underscores the complexity of reaching a consensus, while the decision to delay the vote signals a strategic coordination between the House and the Senate. As the legislative process unfolds, the intricacies of negotiations and the potential impact on government operations remain central to the evolving dynamics on Capitol Hill.

In conclusion, the proposed funding extension has prompted a measured response from Senate Democrats, with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer emphasizing the bill's imperfections while recognizing its crucial inclusions. The decision to delay a procedural vote indicates a strategic coordination between the House and the Senate, underscoring the intricate nature of negotiations surrounding the short-term funding solution. As lawmakers navigate the complexities of the legislative process, the fate of the government's funding and the potential for bipartisan consensus remain pivotal in shaping the immediate future on Capitol Hill. The evolving dynamics suggest a careful approach as both chambers work towards a resolution to avert a government shutdown and ensure the continued functioning of federal agencies.

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