House Republicans and the White House once again are on a government-shutdown collision course. The government could shutter on Nov. 18 without a resolution.
The last continuing resolution that passed at the beginning of October contained Ukraine war funding that triggered a backlash from the right flank of the GOP conference that ousted Kevin McCarthy from the speaker’s chair.
Newly minted House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., reportedly wants to avoid a government shutdown when the current continuing resolution funding the federal government expires next week. The trouble is he does not have a plan to keep his raucous caucus in line.
Can Johnson Hold Republicans Together?
“I don’t think the Lord Jesus himself could manage this group,” said Rep. Troy Nehls, R-Texas, told NBC News.
Another unnamed House Republican noted that his party faces a serious problem. “We’re still dealing with the same divisions we always have had,” the House Republican said. “We’re ungovernable.”
Bad blood continues to circulate among Republicans, with McCarthy saying that South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace should be ousted. Mace was one of eight Republicans who voted to kick McCarthy out of the speaker’s chair.
Johnson held meetings with rank-and-file Republicans seeking a solution. ABC News reports that three scenarios are under consideration. One would be a stopgap spending bill that has a to-be-determined end date, which has bipartisan support. Another stopgap bill related to border security lacks Democratic support. A third option involves a so-called laddered approach that would extend funding for government agencies in two separate batches.
Pressure Builds for Legislation that Can Pass Senate
Some want a “Clean CR” that will be able to pass the Democrat-controlled Senate. Some suggestions have been passing a continuing resolution lasting into January or even April.
“He wants a simple plan that will pass the Senate,” said Centrist Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., who met with Johnson on Wednesday along with roughly 20 other lawmakers. “We should do the hard fights on appropriations and the border, and all that stuff. We shouldn’t have the hard fight on the CR — let’s keep the government open and make it bipartisan.”
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., says Democrats will only accept a “Clean CR.”
Reports suggest that Johnson leans toward a “Clean CR” to avoid a government shutdown by maintaining current funding levels. The fate of the Biden administration’s $106 billion funding request for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan remains unclear.
GOP Divisions Could Torpedo Bill
Republicans could vote on their funding bill as early as next Tuesday.
“And the most obvious roadblock is that Johnson is handcuffed to the exact same strategy as McCarthy: rely only on Republican votes to pass spending bills and figure out later how those bills will actually make it through the Senate and avoid a presidential veto. In theory, this strategy shows solidarity among the House GOP, making it more likely that the final result looks like something at least a majority of the caucus can support,” MSNBC columnist Hayes Brown writes. “That theory falls apart, though, when you look at how much Republicans have struggled to write bills that at least 216 of them support. Case in point: A bill to fund the Transportation Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development got pulled from the floor Tuesday for lack of support.”
Brown continues, “But given the discord that Johnson has yet to tamp down, I’d say the totally real plan that he’s been busy coming up with looks pretty flammable to me.”
John Rossomando is a defense and counterterrorism analyst and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.