House Speaker Mike Johnson’s two-step plan to keep the government open beyond November 17 will continue to face major hurdles on the House floor, a critical moment for the new speaker who is facing his first major legislative test with just four days to avert a government shutdown.
Johnson told his leadership team on Monday night that he sees “a path” to get his government funding plan passed and signed into law, expressing confidence it will succeed despite some Republicans being opposed to the bill and the procedural vote, according to a member in attendance. He also told lawmakers he believes all four congressional leaders — House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Senate Majority Leader Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — are on board with his proposal, the member said.
However, Johnson is still facing a rebellion from his right wing as conservatives quickly criticized his plan on social media and vowed to vote against it, leaving him in a position where he will likely need Democratic votes to pass the bill before the Friday deadline.
“The current short-term funding proposal includes a 1-year extension of the Farm Bill (no reform), status quo policies, and status quo funding levels. Disappointing is as polite as I can muster. I will be voting NO,” said Rep. Warren Davidson, a Republican from Ohio. “Hopefully, the consensus will result in a more reasonable bill.”
Other conservatives also blasted the bill, including Rep. Chip Roy, an influential member of the House Freedom Caucus.
“My opposition to the clean CR just announced by the Speaker to the House GOP cannot be overstated. Funding Pelosi level spending and policies for 75 days – for future ‘promises,’” he tweeted Saturday.
Complicating things for Johnson, Democrats remain noncommittal on whether they will back his idea, leaving him in a position where his first major piece of legislation may not even be able to get out of the House at all.
Many dismissed the two-step plan last week as messy and unnecessary. But, multiple members told CNN that lawmakers remain open minded, given the fact the plan did not include steep spending cuts, a red line.
Johnson’s spending plan would fund government agencies through spending bills for the military, Veterans Affairs, transportation, housing and urban development and energy and water through mid-January. Then, funding for the remaining government agencies would expire on a second date on February 2.
It’s a plan that many Democrats have blasted as a gimmick, but have also acknowledged can’t be dismissed outright given that time is limited and control of Congress is divided.