The government shutdown will test House Speaker Mike Johnson

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US House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) listens as he waits his turn to speak during a press conference at the US Capitol on November 2, 2023 in Washington, DC. House Republicans held a Conference meeting to discuss the party’s agenda.

Alex Wong | Getty Images News | Getty Images

WASHINGTON – The government could shut down at the end of the week – if House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., cannot pass his controversial stopgap funding bill.

House Republican leaders are hoping their two-step “ladder” continuing resolution to fund some parts 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 to Israel amid its war against Hamas, avoids a vote on a larger spending bill before the holidays – concern among GOP lawmakers. But he also has critics on both sides of the aisle.

The lack of consensus among Republicans on these spending bills could also present a danger to Johnson’s new spokesmen. The move is a bipartisan stopgap measure that prompted the ouster of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in October.

Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Monday said the continuing resolution is led by the “irresponsible” House Freedom Caucus.

The bill “starts the serious domestic and international challenges facing our country into the next year,” Wasserman Schultz, Fla., said in a statement. It would also leave the Departments of State and Defense “under-resourced” until February while global democracies are under attack, she said.

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 for tyranny.”

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

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

“House Republicans must stop wasting time on their own political divisions, do their jobs, and work in a bipartisan manner to prevent a shutdown,” Jean-Pierre said.

Johnson said Saturday that the continuing resolution puts House Republicans “in the best position to fight for conservative victories” by separating it from debates over additional funding.

“By separating the CR from the debates about supplementary funding, our conference is in the best position to fight for fiscal responsibility, monitor aid in Ukraine, 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 January 19. Funding ends on February 2nd for everything else. federal operations.

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