Mike Johnson’s Gamble: Will Laddered Bill Prevent a Gov Shutdown?

House Speaker Mike Johnson fails to produce stopgap bill, leaving government funding in limbo and risking a shutdown. The borrowed time to fund the government is set to expire next week, with top Republicans confident that Johnson will unveil a bill by week’s end, though details remain shrouded in mystery.

The Louisiana Republican is considering two options: a “clean” stopgap bill or a two-step “ladder” approach that would split funding deadlines into January and February. With a fractured GOP and arch-conservatives holding out for policy provisions that are non-starters in the Senate, Johnson is traversing familiar territory, navigating a Congress divided along party lines.

However, conservative lawmakers, more willing to give Johnson latitude due to time constraints and trust in his leadership, are cautiously optimistic about his approach. While Johnson appears to favor the ladder approach, specifics are yet to be disclosed, as he faces a deadline to unveil the plan by Saturday for procedural passage in the House.

The House Freedom Caucus, including members such as Rep. Andy Harris, expresses support for the laddered approach, aiming to draw in skeptics of a stopgap bill. They envision prioritizing high-value spending bills, like defense, for earliest consideration and swift Senate collaboration.

Meanwhile, House Democrats and Senate leaders express skepticism and opposition to the intricate laddered approach, labeling it overly complicated and a catalyst for potential shutdown. Nonetheless, Johnson navigates the delicate balance of appeasing conservative hardliners and steering clear of Democratic resistance while charting a course for government funding.

Rep. Thomas Massie cites support for a laddered bill but voices a preference for a yearlong stopgap, emphasizing the challenges and risks associated with intermittent funding. Amid the swirling dynamics, Johnson faces the daunting task of uniting the caucus and Congress, braving the political arena with high stakes and consequences.

The countdown to the government funding deadline continues, with Johnson at the helm, seeking a solution that averts shutdown while grappling with divergent views and mounting pressure from both sides of the aisle.

Written by Staff Reports

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