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Avoiding a government shutdown is first major test for House Speaker Mike Johnson

Alex Wong | Getty Images News | Getty Images
  • The government will shut down on Friday night absent a stopgap spending measure in the House.
  • House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., says the GOP's 'ladder' continuing resolution puts his party "in the best position to fight for conservative victories."
  • Lawmakers are expected to vote on the measure Tuesday.

WASHINGTON — The government could shut down at the end of the week — unless House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., can get his contentious stopgap funding bill passed.

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House Republican leaders hope their proposed two-step "ladder" continuing resolution to fund some sectors of the government until Jan. 19  and others Until Feb. 2 will garner bipartisan support in Congress. The measure, which does not include budget cuts or aid for Israel amid its war against Hamas, avoids a vote on a larger spending bill before the holidays — a concern among GOP lawmakers. But it also has naysayers on both sides of the aisle.

The lack of a consensus among Republicans on these spending bills could also signal danger for Johnson's fledgling speakership. The passage of a bipartisan stopgap measure is what prompted former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's ouster in October.

Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Monday said the continuing resolution is driven by the "irresponsible" conservative House Freedom Caucus.

The bill "kicks the serious domestic and international challenges facing our nation into next year," Wasserman Schultz, Fla., said in a statement. It would also leave the State and Defense Departments "inadequately resourced" until February while global democracies are under assault, she added.

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, said last week that voting for a clean bill without budget cuts or "meaningful" policy changes "means more debt and more funding of tyranny."

The bill currently excludes funding requested by the White House for the U.S.-Mexico border as well as aid for Ukraine.

White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre on Saturday called the Republican plan "a recipe for more Republican chaos and more shutdowns—full stop."

"House Republicans need to stop wasting time on their own political divisions, do their jobs, and work in a bipartisan way to prevent a shutdown," Jean-Pierre added.

Johnson said on Saturday that the continuing resolution places House Republicans "in the best position to fight for conservative victories" by separating it from debates over supplemental funding.

"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," he said in a statement.

If the bill passes, funding for the Food and Drug Administration, military construction, veterans benefits, transportation, housing, urban development, agriculture and energy and water programs would be extended through Jan. 19. Funding would expire on Feb. 2 for all other federal operations.

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