House of Representatives to vote on spending bill aimed at averting government shutdown

By | November 14, 2023

WASHINGTON, Nov 14 (Reuters) – U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson will defy opposition from fellow Republicans and rely on Democratic votes on Tuesday, a risky tactic to avoid a government shutdown .

The House has scheduled an afternoon vote on a stopgap spending bill that would extend government funding beyond Nov. 17. when it’s about to run out.

Facing opposition from some right-wing Republicans, House Speaker Mike Johnson opted to put the bill directly to the House for a vote. This allows it to avoid a possible procedural hurdle, but requires a two-thirds vote for passage, meaning Democratic support will be needed.

“Moving beyond the shutdown and ensuring the government remains operational is a matter of conscience for all of us,” he told a news conference.

To avoid a fourth shutdown in a decade, the Republican-controlled House and Democratic-led Senate must agree on spending legislation that President Joe Biden can sign before current government funding expires. federal agencies Friday.

House Democratic leaders said Tuesday afternoon they would support Johnson’s plan, saying they were glad the legislation did not include deep spending cuts or controversial policies on abortion or other social issues. burning.

But this comes at the cost of some Republican support. Rep. Kevin Hern, who leads a group of conservative Republicans, estimated that 30 to 40 of them might vote against it.

Congress is in its third budget impasse this year, following a months-long impasse in the spring over the more than $31 trillion U.S. debt that brought the federal government to the brink of default.

THE persistent partisan gridlock led Moody’s on Friday to lower its credit rating outlook on the United States from “negative” to “stable”, as he noted that high interest rates would continue to drive up borrowing costs.

Johnson had little experience in congressional leadership before being chosen as president less than three weeks ago.

With a slim 221-213 majority, he can afford to lose no more than three Republican votes on legislation that Democrats oppose.

“When you have a small majority, some things have to be bipartisan,” Johnson said.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said he hoped the House would pass the bill and send it to his chamber, where he said he was working with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to move it forward as quickly as possible.

“If it can avoid a shutdown, that would be a good thing,” he said at a news conference.

McConnell also said he supported the bill.

Johnson’s bill would extend funding for military construction, veterans’ benefits, transportation, housing, urban development, agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, and energy and health programs. water until January 19. Funding for all other federal operations – including defense – would expire in February. .2.

Johnson’s political strategy echoes the approach taken by his predecessor, Kevin McCarthy, who relied on Democratic votes to pass a stopgap spending bill on October 1. This angered some Republicans, who forced him out of office days later.

Republicans say the new president is unlikely to suffer the same fate as McCarthy. But hardliners were quick to draw the parallel.

“Here we are. We’re doing the same thing,” Rep. Chip Roy told reporters.

Reporting by David Morgan and Richard Cowan; Additional reporting by Moira Warburton, Katharine Jackson and Susan Heavey; Editing by Andy Sullivan, Scott Malone, David Gregorio and Lisa Shumaker

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