GOP Hardliners Pressure New House Speaker

While in San Francisco for the APEC summit, President Biden on Friday signed the bipartisan stopgap spending measure to keep the government funded through early 2024 averting a looming shutdown, CBS News reported.

The continuing resolution passed in Congress last week extends funding for the Departments of Energy, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Veterans Affairs through January 19, while funding for other government entities is extended through February 2.

The Senate passed the measure late last Wednesday in an 87 to 11 vote, with one Democrat, Colorado Senator Michael Bennett, joining ten Republicans to vote against it.

The Republican-led House passed the bill last Tuesday night in a vote of 336 to 95 with significant Democrat support, marking the first major piece of legislation passed by the House since Louisiana Republican Mike Johnson took over as speaker.

The House plan, which Speaker Johnson unveiled on November 11, was similar to the stopgap spending bill that prompted Florida Republican Matt Gaetz to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy with the help of Democrats last month.

Despite fervent opposition from Republican members, Speaker Johnson celebrated the House vote, saying in a statement that the stopgap measure best positions Republicans “to fight for conservative policy victories.”

He said by extending funding through early next year, Washington’s preferred method of passing a “Christmas omnibus monstrosity” is taken “off the table.” He said the stopgap measure would enhance the GOP’s “ability to rein in” government spending and President Biden’s failed policies.

Johnson argued that keeping the government funded through early next year places Republicans in a better position when negotiating for border security, support for Israel, and “oversight of Ukraine aid.”

A short-term spending package in place until early 2024 will also clear the holiday calendar for lawmakers who often spend the days before Christmas fighting over appropriations. At the same time, if Congress fails to reach an agreement on long-term spending before the end of the year, it will result in a funding battle in Congress just as the primary season begins.