Republican Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) faced a major test of his leadership on Tuesday as he took on the challenge of getting his temporary spending plan through the House. The plan aimed to maintain current spending levels with no cuts and delay the appropriations deadline until early next year in an effort to keep the government funded and functioning. However, Johnson’s proposal faced opposition from some House Republicans who objected to maintaining the spending levels set by Democrats without implementing budgetary cuts.
Johnson faces first test in averting shutdown amid conservative resistance https://t.co/mFbCVFZadn
— J. Metz (@Metz1245John) November 14, 2023
With the possibility of a government shutdown looming, Johnson found himself in a precarious situation, as at least eight GOP lawmakers announced their intention to vote against the spending plan. This put Johnson in a bind, as he could only afford to lose three Republicans due to his slim majority in the House. The prospect of relying on Democrats to push the measure across the finish line further complicated the situation for Johnson, as House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) made it clear that Democrats had “zero intention” of supporting the plan.
In an attempt to maneuver around the opposition within his own party, Johnson opted to bring the bill to the floor under suspension, a move that would require a two-thirds majority for the legislation to pass. This meant he would need the support of more than 70 Democrats to back the spending plan. However, some Republicans criticized this strategy, warning that it would be a mistake to seek significant Democrat support while facing opposition within their own conference.
Despite the challenges, the possibility of Democrats supporting the CR remained on the table, as party leaders indicated that they were still “evaluating” the proposal and “discussing it with members.” Meanwhile, the Senate dropped its plans to pursue its own CR proposal, signaling a growing sense of agreement among Democrats to support Johnson’s plan as long as it maintained current spending levels and avoided attaching any policy riders.
However, skepticism remained about Congress’s ability to pass appropriations bills within the allotted time, raising concerns about the potential for a mini-shutdown come January. If Congress failed to pass the appropriations bills, Johnson warned that he would implement an 8% cut across the board to non-defense spending, but the prospect of getting such a measure to pass both chambers remained uncertain.
In the face of these challenges, Johnson found himself navigating a complex political landscape as he sought to avert a government shutdown and secure the necessary funding to keep the government running. The outcome of this high-stakes showdown would have significant implications for Johnson’s leadership and the future of government funding.