March 1, 2024

The government shutdown part two (Speaker Johnson’s version)

Following the Nov. 16 senate vote, Congress has officially delayed government shutdown until after the new year. For the second time in recent months, a shut down was narrowly averted thanks to a temporary bipartisan budget extension known as a stopgap bill. 

At a vote of 87-11, AP News reported that the senate confirmed the short term solution. This was passed by the House with overwhelmingly bipartisan support. 

Heading into the holidays, Congress once again found itself in the position which previously resulted in Kevin McCarthy’s removal from the Speakership. With the government set to shut down just days later, the new speaker Mike Johnson, was left with few options. 

Similarly to his predecessor, he tried and failed to garner full party support for a permanent measure. The hard right flank responsible for his ascension to the Speakership opposed the resolutions in hopes of leveraging the shutdown, while the more moderate members of his party found the temporary measure to be an agreeable compromise heading into Congress’ two week break in session. 

Members of the aforementioned right flank once again threatened to call a vote to vacate the chair on Speaker Johnson if he went ahead with his stop gap extension. However, unlike the last shutdown dilemma, Johnson knew that calling the hard right’s bluff would be relatively safe. 

Pictured above is the route the Speaker must embark on to pass a permanent measure, ending months of infighting in the GOP.

The goal of McCarthy’s ousting was to elect a more conservative speaker who was willing to meet the demands of the hard right. If Johnson too was ousted, the next speaker chosen from the pool would almost certainly be moderate, and far less willing to meet the flank’s demands. 

The new stop gap bill will buy Congress approximately a month and a half and split the deadline for a full year budget, risking a partial shutdown between Jan. 19 and Feb. 2. Republicans hope to pass each of the twelve funding bills separately, but this strategy has proven to be antithetical thus far. Two have had to be pulled from the floor, one failed a procedural vote, and other attempts have failed to make it as far as the floor. 

Johnson, who likened the tensions on the House floor to a pressure cooker, shared his hopes with reporters that a more permanent solution could be obtained after the break. He did not comment on whether or not funding for Ukraine or Israel would be included, but stated that he would not be willing to pass another stop gap measure.

Democrats were willing to concede aid for Ukraine in the stop gap bill, though it is unlikely they’ll be willing to defer the issue much longer. When Congress resumes session following the two week break, CNN reported that President Biden plans to introduce military and financial aid to Israel and Ukraine. 

Heading into the 2024 election season, the fight between the Republican controlled House, and Democrat controlled Senate is uncertain. While the Speaker’s bipartisan bill may be a sign of a more fruitful and productive year for the 118th Congress, it is also possible that the battle between the two chambers could become uglier than ever. 

Author

  • Josie Speakman

    Josie is a first-year Political Science major with a Spanish minor on a Pre-Law track. In her free time, she enjoys reading and watching movies.

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