OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a short-term bill to keep the government open, putting Congress on track to avoid a shutdown and setting the stage for a bigger fight over funding in the new year.
After that, the Senate will have to agree to the measure. Someone from the White House told CNN that President Joe Biden is ready to sign the bill if the Senate passes it. Government money is set to run out this Friday, November 17, at the end of the week.
The stopgap bill passed the House with 336 to 95 votes, with 209 of those votes coming from Democrats. This should be a warning sign for Mike Johnson, who was just elected Speaker of the House.
Ninety Republicans and two Democrats were against the bill.
Johnson is working on a strange two-step plan that would set two new shutdown deadlines in January and February. This is the first big test of his leadership.
What the bill would do: It would give more money to important areas like military construction, veterans’ issues, transportation, housing, and the Energy Department until January 19. As long as the first step was taken, the rest of the government would be paid for until February 2. The plan doesn’t include any extra money to help Israel or Ukraine.
The plan would give lawmakers more time to try to negotiate and pass spending bills for the whole year, but that would be hard to do because of big differences between parties. Johnson has said that his plan would stop Congress from passing a huge spending bill in December. This has happened many times before when lawmakers were short on time right before the holidays.
The president is ready to sign the bill if it passes the Senate. A White House representative stated on Tuesday that President Joe Biden is prepared to sign the House-passed government funding bill if the Senate does as well.
The official said, “If it passes the Senate, the President will sign this continuing resolution that keeps funding levels the same and doesn’t add any harmful policy riders.”
Some members of the House Freedom Caucus, like Byron Donalds, voted against the short-term spending bill that passed the House on Tuesday. He also said that Speaker Mike Johnson is in a “tough spot.”
After that, Donalds said that talks with the Senate about funding the government for the whole fiscal year would be tough.
“I wasn’t a fan of this package, but I understand the position of Speaker Johnson,” he told CNN. “I think when it comes to supplemental packages, conferencing spending bills, you know if I was Chuck and I was Mitch, you know, make sure you get some good rest. Because we got work to do. And we’re not playing games. And that’s my position.”
Donalds also said Johnson would be “just fine” when asked if Johnson’s clean stop-gap bill—which is similar to what Rep. Kevin McCarthy did and lost the speakership—could lead to a leadership challenge.
“Members understand that he’s just in a tough spot and an unenviable spot, so he’s going to be fine. We are going to follow him,” he said.
The head of the House Budget Committee for the GOP, Rep. Jodey Arrington, said that it would have been a “mistake” to shut down the government. He supports the clean funding bill.
“I’m not afraid of a shutdown in the right context and for the right reasons. But not when we don’t have our work done,” he said, noting that Johnson had only been on the job for two weeks.
A White House representative stated on Tuesday that President Joe Biden is prepared to sign the House-passed government funding bill if the Senate does as well.
“If it passes the Senate, the President will sign this continuing resolution that maintains current funding levels and has no harmful policy riders,” the official said.