House readies vote to prevent a government shutdown as Speaker Johnson relies on Democrats for help

by Gabriel Martinez
Government Shutdown

On Tuesday, the House of Representatives prepared for a critical vote aimed at averting a government shutdown. This development came as Republican Speaker Mike Johnson, facing opposition from within his party’s hard-right faction, found himself compelled to seek support from Democratic members. This move mirrored the circumstances that led to the downfall of his predecessor, Kevin McCarthy, just weeks ago. Despite the internal strife, Johnson, a Louisiana representative, seemed poised to navigate these challenges successfully, unlike McCarthy. The next step would involve the Senate’s action before the looming Friday deadline.

Speaker Johnson emphasized the importance of maintaining government operations at a press conference, saying it was a collective responsibility owed to the American public. However, Johnson’s leadership is tested by the same dynamics that undermined McCarthy’s tenure. With hard-right Republicans adamant about budget cuts and opposed to Johnson’s strategy, he had no alternative but to form an alliance with the Democrats to ensure the continuation of government functions.

Johnson, who recently endorsed Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination, proposed a distinctive, albeit criticized, two-part funding process. This approach would temporarily fund certain federal agencies until January 19th and others until February 2nd, without the substantial cuts demanded by conservative members or including President Biden’s request for additional funds for Ukraine, Israel, border security, and other areas.

Despite Johnson’s assurances, many Republicans remain skeptical of any significant progress in the upcoming January negotiations. The House Freedom Caucus publicly opposed his plan, with members like Rep. Chip Roy of Texas and Rep. Andy Ogles of Tennessee openly criticizing the approach. This opposition left Johnson with little choice but to bypass the usual party-line vote and opt for a procedure requiring a two-thirds majority, including Democrat support.

Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries expressed reservations about the plan but recognized that it met Democratic criteria by maintaining current funding levels without drastic reductions or contentious Republican policies. Jeffries remarked on NPR about the necessity of Democratic involvement for governance, especially in the context of preventing a shutdown.

This scenario places Johnson in a delicate position, reliant on bipartisan support, much like the situation that led to McCarthy’s removal. However, Johnson seems to be enjoying a temporary period of political grace in one of his initial significant tests.

On the Senate side, where Democrats hold a narrow majority, there is an openness to accepting Johnson’s proposal before the Friday deadline. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell viewed the House package positively, anticipating bipartisan passage. However, McConnell also noted the ongoing efforts to address Biden’s requests for military aid and other needs in separate discussions.

If passed, this resolution would mark a somewhat unremarkable conclusion to the House GOP’s first year in majority, where efforts to reduce federal spending have faced resistance from within the party. The current plan would continue government funding at levels set at the end of 2022, a bipartisan agreement. The future holds potential changes, with automatic 1% cuts across all departments looming if new budget terms are not agreed upon by spring, a consequence of a debt deal struck earlier in the year.

This report was supplemented by contributions from Big Big News writers Kevin Freking and Mary Clare Jalonick.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about government shutdown vote

What is the House of Representatives’ current initiative?

The House of Representatives is preparing for a vote to prevent a government shutdown, with Speaker Mike Johnson seeking support from Democrats due to opposition from hard-right Republicans within his party.

Why is Speaker Mike Johnson relying on Democrats for this vote?

Speaker Mike Johnson is collaborating with Democrats because he lacks sufficient support from his Republican majority, as hard-right GOP members are rejecting his approach and demanding budget cuts.

What is Speaker Johnson’s proposed funding plan?

Johnson proposes a two-part funding process that temporarily funds certain federal agencies until January 19th and others until February 2nd. This plan, a continuing resolution, does not include the substantial cuts demanded by conservative Republicans or President Biden’s request for additional funds for Ukraine, Israel, and border security.

What challenges is Speaker Johnson facing within his party?

Johnson faces opposition from the House Freedom Caucus and other hard-right Republicans who are demanding budget cuts and are determined to vote against his plan. This internal conflict echoes the political issues that led to the ouster of his predecessor, Kevin McCarthy.

What is the stance of Democratic leaders on Johnson’s funding plan?

Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries has expressed concerns about the plan’s two-part approach but acknowledges that it meets Democratic criteria by maintaining current funding levels without significant reductions or divisive Republican policies.

How is the Senate responding to the House’s funding plan?

The Senate, led by a slim Democratic majority, has shown willingness to accept Johnson’s package. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has called the House package “a solution” and anticipates its bipartisan passage.

What are the implications of the House’s funding plan for future budget negotiations?

If the plan passes, it could lead to automatic 1% cuts across all departments by springtime if Congress fails to agree on new budget terms. This scenario is part of a debt deal struck earlier in the year, designed to motivate Congress towards more effective budgeting.

More about government shutdown vote

  • House Votes on Government Shutdown Prevention
  • Speaker Johnson’s Bipartisan Strategy
  • Republican Opposition to Funding Plan
  • Democratic Response to House Proposal
  • Senate’s Role in Government Funding
  • Implications of House Funding Plan
  • Background of House GOP’s Budget Struggle

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Jimbo47 November 15, 2023 - 1:38 am

wow, politics as usual, republicans and democrats cant seem to get along, but now they HAVE to? ironic…

CryptoKing November 15, 2023 - 9:00 am

government shutdowns… bad for the economy, bad for crypto, bad for everyone, glad they’re trying to avoid it atleast!

HistoryBuff1912 November 15, 2023 - 9:44 am

Remember when politics used to be about compromise? those were the days…

Mark_the_shark November 15, 2023 - 12:56 pm

budget cuts again? when will they learn that slashing funds isn’t always the answer

SaraBee November 15, 2023 - 2:09 pm

so Johnson is doing what McCarthy couldn’t, interesting to see if he pulls it off or not…

Karen_from_CA November 15, 2023 - 5:57 pm

Hakeem Jeffries always has something to say, but at least he’s consistent, gotta give him that.

Linda_in_TX November 15, 2023 - 7:58 pm

McConnell seems okay with this, but what about the long term? seems like a temporary fix to me


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