House to vote on whether to avoid government shutdown as president rises above far-right concerns

By | November 14, 2023

In an effort to avoid a government shutdown on Saturday, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) opted to expedite his term. A stopgap funding proposal will be considered Tuesday after it became clear that Republicans could not get it through their narrow and contentious ranks.

Far-right Republicans planned to clear a critical procedural hurdle, known as a vote on the rules, that would have blocked passage of the bill because they were furious that Johnson had rejected their request to bind the spending cuts, border security provisions or funding for Israel in the bill. proposal. Rather than face an embarrassing defeat — Republicans could lose just three votes if all Democrats voted against the proposal — GOP leaders decided Monday night to work toward passing the package by suspending the House. rules. Use the procedural maneuver, However, this requires support from two-thirds of the House, meaning Republicans will need Democrats’ help to pass the legislation.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) opted to fast-track his stopgap funding proposal on Nov. 14 to avoid a government shutdown, despite concerns from the far right. (Video: Reuters)

Once passed by the House, it is expected to clear the Senate, where Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday endorsed the two-way plan levels.

Johnson’s decision to bypass the concerns of the far right come later he spent weeks committing with the Republicans through an ideologically fractured conference and producing a compromise proposal this left no faction completely satisfied. The speaker endorsed the demand of hardliners to finance certain ministries until mid-January and the rest until early February, and linked the two-tier deadline to centrists’ demand to reject far-right pressure for spending cuts and extend the tiers existing funding until the beginning of next year.

“I was hoping he would listen to everyone and put out something that would be a bit of a bitter pill to swallow, but probably something achievable, to put pressure on Senate Democrats,” said Rep. Chip Roy (R – Tex.), who favored the two-tiered approach taken by Johnson, but also wanted spending cuts. “I think Democratic leaders play this game better than we do.”

Rejecting the demands of the far right, including some members of the House Freedom Caucus, angered many of those members, who felt Johnson would embrace their requests after renting their first decision as a speaker to adopt $14 billion in aid to Israel by eliminating funds allocated to the Internal Revenue Service to finance this aid.

“This will be very frustrating and really goes against everything we’ve been fighting for,” said Rep. Andrew Ogles (R-Tenn.), a member of the Freedom Caucus. “I think there is a real chance that the upcoming votes will become really controversial, even more so than they are now.”

When asked how the Freedom Caucus would respond if GOP leaders decided to pass the funding bill with help from Democrats on Tuesday, the group’s chairman, Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), said, “It could be anger.”

Frustrated Republicans argued that Johnson’s course of action circumvented “regular order,” which would have required the House Rules Committee to adopt a rule setting the parameters of debate for passage of the funding bill . In retaliation, some believed the group would become more aggressive in defeating future votes on the rules, imitating a movement that they started against then-President Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to express dissatisfaction with his agreement with President Biden to prevent the country from defaulting on its debt earlier this year.

But unlike McCarthy, far-right members not making a motion to leave Johnson from the presidency, even as he deploys the same strategy of bypassing hard-liners to fund the government with Democratic support. Roy acknowledged that Johnson is in a “difficult situation” as he approaches a three-week spending deadline into his term as president, but his proposal was “the wrong approach.”

House Democrats will meet Tuesday morning to gauge how many lawmakers will support the proposal. Nearly 100 more Democrats than Republicans supported McCarthy plan to finance the government by suspension at the end of September.

Some hardliners have made it clear that the honeymoon period they gave Johnson given the circumstances of his election is over.

“I think you see it’s over,” Ogles said.

Since regaining the majority earlier this year, far-right Republicans have demanded that GOP leaders enact significant spending cuts to reduce the deficit and have used every budget debate to hammer home their demands. Their demands pushed the rest of the conference to adopt a number of their demands, including increasing the 12 appropriations bills funding the government in 2024 to a budget of $1.4 trillion, up from $1.59 trillion. dollars agreed to by McCarthy and Biden during the fight against the debt. .

Demanding such drastic cuts has strained the conference. McCarthy and now Johnson have had to delay consideration of several appropriations bills because of infighting that has pitted far-right members against conservatives — from those representing rural communities to moderate communities — concerned about how to Such reductions would affect their districts. This has contributed to significant uncertainty over whether House Republicans can pass the 12 appropriations bills or whether they will have a compromise with the Senate to fund the government for a full fiscal year.

“I’m not asking you to get everything I want. Basically, I ask to have one thing I want, one,” Roy said.

Many rulers Republicans privately balked at Roy and other hard-liners, suggesting they had not achieved a victory with Johnson’s proposal, given that the speaker had adopted their approach on two dates, which which many lawmakers have agreed to. responsible for credits deemed unnecessary. Many lamented that Johnson, although he made the right choice to rein in hard-liners in an effort to avoid a shutdown before the holidays, will likely face significant reprimands from the Freedom Caucus before the next funding deadline if the current plan is adopted.

“If you can’t pass the rule, you really don’t have a choice,” said a moderate House Republican, speaking on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly. “Next time, I doubt they will be so generous to the speaker.”

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