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House to Debate Stopgap Funding Measure Today to Avoid Government Shutdown

Washington — A plan by House Speaker Mike Johnson to prevent a government shutdown will be considered by the House on Tuesday. The plan involves using a stopgap measure called a continuing resolution to temporarily fund the government. The measure will be put on the House floor under a procedure known as suspension of the rules, bypassing the House Rules Committee, and requiring a two-thirds majority to pass the House.

This approach was previously used by former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, and it succeeded in preventing a government shutdown. However, it resulted in McCarthy being ousted from the speakership. Johnson will need the support of Democrats to pass the stopgap measure, and while there were concerns expressed by some House Democrats, there were promising signs for its prospects.

Johnson’s stopgap bill, unveiled on Saturday, would extend government funding at current levels for some agencies until Jan. 19, while others would be funded until Feb. 2. It does not include steep spending cuts demanded by conservatives, but it also does not provide funding for Ukraine, Israel, and the southern border.

The House Rules Committee did not pass a rule to enable the bill to be debated on the floor, and some Republican representatives have expressed opposition to the measure. The House Freedom Caucus also opposes Johnson’s proposed funding plan, citing concerns about spending reductions and border security.

Congress must pass a dozen appropriations bills to fund many federal government agencies for another year before the start of a new fiscal year on Oct. 1. The bills are often grouped together into an “omnibus” bill. The House has passed seven bills, while the Senate has passed three that were grouped together in a “minibus.” None have made it through both chambers.

Johnson has referred to his approach as a “laddered” continuing resolution that would set different lengths of funding for individual appropriations bills. The bill’s exclusion of spending cuts and amendments makes it more appealing to Democrats, and President Biden has signaled that he could be open to signing it if it passes Congress.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the bill “far from perfect” but emphasized the importance of excluding steep cuts and including defense spending in the February extension. The Senate was set to hold a procedural vote on its short-term funding extension, but delayed the vote to allow the House to move first with their proposal.

Jack Turman contributed reporting. 

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