OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has unveiled a two-prong short-term spending plan that aims to keep the government funded into early next year while simultaneously preventing an end-of-the-year “spending monstrosity.”
As Fox News reported on Saturday, the “two-step proposal would fund part of the government until Jan. 19, and the rest until Feb. 2.” According to two congressional sources, the outlet said Johnson is aiming for a Tuesday vote.
“Supporters of a staggered short-term bill, known as a continuing resolution (CR), argue it puts targeted pressure on lawmakers to achieve their goals at an incremental rate,” Fox News Digital noted further. “Johnson’s CR includes no additional funding for Ukraine or Israel, but it does extend key programs under the Farm Bill, another must-pass piece of legislation that expires this year.”
Johnson noted that his plan avoids forcing Congress to make rushed decisions before the holiday season by extending funding into next year. In addition, he touted the exclusion of President Biden’s $106 billion supplemental funding request for Israel, Taiwan, Ukraine, and the southern border.
The speaker’s office said in a one-page plan summary that the approach would “prevent another irresponsible ‘Christmas omnibus’ spending monstrosity.”
“This two-step continuing resolution is a necessary bill to place House Republicans in the best position to fight for conservative victories,” Johnson said in a statement after it was unveiled.
“The bill will stop the absurd holiday-season omnibus tradition of massive, loaded up spending bills introduced right before the Christmas recess,” he added. “Separating out the CR from the supplemental funding debates places our conference in the best position to fight for fiscal responsibility, oversight over Ukraine aid, and meaningful policy changes at our Southern border.”
The plan first forces lawmakers to reckon with some of the traditionally less controversial appropriations bills — those concerning military construction and Veterans Affairs; Agriculture; Energy and Water; Transportation and Housing and Urban Development. The remaining eight appropriations bills must be worked out by Feb. 2.
House Republicans have pledged to pass 12 individual spending bills for the next fiscal year as opposed to a mammoth “omnibus” funding bill, which the previous Democratically-controlled Congress passed last year.
Some Republicans, however, have already expressed their opposition.
“My opposition to the clean CR just announced by the Speaker to the [House GOP] cannot be overstated. Funding [former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.] level spending & policies for 75 days – for future ‘promises,’’ House Freedom Caucus Policy Chair Chip Roy, R-Texas, wrote on X following a House GOP members-only conference call.
Still, the measure is in line with Johnson’s previous pledge to restore some fiscal sanity in the GOP-controlled House.
The Louisiana Republican moved legislation to provide $14.8 billion in assistance to Israel earlier this month, which is locked in a war against Hamas after the terrorist group launched a surprise attack against the Jewish state a month ago, killing nearly 1,400 people. Twelve Democrats broke ranks and joined nearly all Republicans in passing the measure despite a veto threat from President Joe Biden.
The legislation also calls for identical spending cuts in funds meant for the Internal Revenue Service, which has been a priority for the GOP.
During an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Johnson fired back at Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who dismissed the Speaker’s legislative move as not “serious.”
“The proposal is simply not a serious one, and worse, it still wastes precious time at a moment when we need to help Israel and Ukraine and send humanitarian aid to Gaza ASAP,” Schumer said.
Johnson noted that the White House had also requested tens of millions of dollars more for Ukraine, so it was “really surprising to hear Sen. Schumer say that it’s not a serious proposal.”
“What they don’t like is that in the House, we’re trying to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ resources,” he added. “We offset that spending. Instead of printing new dollars and/or borrowing it from another nation to send over to fulfill our obligations and help our ally, we want to pay for it. What a concept, and we’re trying to change how Washington works.”
“And so, by taking that money from this giant fund—over $65 billion that’s sitting there to build up the IRS—we weighed those priorities and said, You know what? It’s more important to protect Israel right now than it is to hire more IRS agents,” he continued.
“Apparently, Senator Schumer disagrees with that. But I’ll take that debate to the American people all day long,” he added.