Senate Passes Stopgap Funding Bill, Sending Measure to House in Race to Avert Shutdown

Senate Passes Stopgap Funding Bill, Sending Measure to House in Race to Avert Shutdown


The House is set to take up the bill on Jan. 18, ahead of the Jan. 19 deadline, due to House leaders cancelling Friday voting due to weather concerns.

The Senate has passed a stopgap funding bill in a vote of 77-18, sending the measure to the House for a vote later today in a race to meet a government funding deadline on Jan. 19.

House and Senate leaders unveiled its text just days before, reaching a bipartisan agreement on temporary funding to allow additional time for the full funding legislation.

This came following a Jan. 16 procedural vote on the Continuing Resolution (CR) that passed by a margin of 68–3, moving the third stopgap spending bill in four months forward in an effort to avert a partial government shutdown.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and the White House reached an agreement on the interim measure on Jan. 14 and released their plan to be voted on in an effort to extend government funding which would run out on Jan. 19

Mr. Schumer made a statement following the Jan. 14 agreement saying that, “To avoid a shutdown, it will take bipartisan cooperation in the Senate and the House to quickly pass the CR and send it to the President’s desk before Friday’s funding deadline.”

Mr. Johnson also commented on the CR the same day, saying that it “is required to complete what House Republicans are working hard to achieve: an end to governance by omnibus, meaningful policy wins, and better stewardship of American tax dollars.”

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House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (R-N.Y.) said just hours before the vote, “We recognize that a partial government shutdown will hurt everyday Americans…it’s my full expectation that House Democrats will continue to do the responsible thing.”

The bill also extends the deadline for Congress to pass two sets of annual appropriations bills to March 1 and March 8.

The pressure to vote on the resolution is also increased due to the winter storm moving toward Washington and parts of the Northeast and Midwest. The House is set to take up the bill on Jan. 18, ahead of the Jan. 19 deadline, due to House Leaders canceling Jan. 19 voting because of weather concerns.

Legislation Details

A $1.59 trillion spending cap for the fiscal year was agreed upon by the House and Senate leaders, mirroring the agreement reached last year during debt limit negotiations between then Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and President Joe Biden.

An extra $10 billion in IRS staff layoffs is part of the most recent agreement, which modifies the previous arrangement. It also includes COVID-19 funding of $6.1 billion and an increase in defense spending to $886 billion.

Legislators negotiated a 5.2 percent pay raise for members of the military and $704 billion for other discretionary spending. A side agreement reached would provide roughly $70 billion in further non-defense appropriations.

House Freedom Caucus members pleaded with Mr. Johnson at the last minute to include a vote on immigration and border policy measures in the current CR proposal

“The Speaker is considering it, and he’s working through the mechanics to make sure that … we have the best path forward on how to do it within the legislative process,” Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.), chair of the Freedom Caucus, said while leaving Mr. Johnson’s office on Thursday prior to the Senate vote.

Such a move would throw a wrench into the plan to avert a partial shutdown. But a spokesperson for Johnson appeared to beat down the idea.

“The plan has not changed. The House is voting on the stop gap measure tonight to keep the government open,” Johnson spokesperson Raj Shah posted on X in response to the Freedom Caucus push.

Conservatives within the House Republican Conference have spoken out against the agreement, pointing out that when discretionary expenditure is taken into account, the actual top-line amount is closer to $1.66 trillion.

“The [House GOP] is planning to pass a short-term spending bill continuing Pelosi levels with Biden policies, to buy time to pass longer-term spending bills at Pelosi levels with Biden policies. This is what surrender looks like,” the staunchly conservative House Freedom Caucus wrote in a post on X formerly Twitter.

Pressure on Johnson

Mr. Johnson’s agreement with the resolution has caused some Republicans to respond negatively to Mr. Johnson, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) who threatened to remove the House Speaker from office if he consented to a funding bill that she does not agree with.

Speaking to Real America’s Voice, Ms. Greene said she would support firing Mr. Johnson as leader if he doesn’t deliver for members of the party like herself who are getting tired of what they see as his failures.

“In my meeting with him yesterday [Jan. 11], and many other members of Congress, I let Speaker Johnson know that in no way shape and form will I support any type of CR,” Ms. Greene said on the Real America’s Voice Network’s “War Room” program on Jan. 12.

The Georgia Republican voiced her frustration that elements put in place by the 117th Congressional Speaker, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) were still in place and that Democrats were in the process of negotiating down border security and pushing for an increase in funding for Ukraine.

Following the threat from Ms. Greene to vacate his position if he approves the CR, Mr. Johnson stated that he is “not concerned” about being removed from office during a Jan. 17 interview.

During an interview with CNN, the lawmaker was questioned about whether he was concerned about meeting the same fate as his predecessor, the former speaker, Mr. McCarthy. Mr. Johnson said that he is not concerned about the growing threats and he is focused on doing his job.

“I have a job to do,” Mr. Johnson said. “We all have to do our jobs. Marjorie Taylor Greene is very upset about the lack of oversight over the funding and over the lack of an articulation of a plan, as am I … We have to continue to ensure that we’re covering all these bases and we’ll see how this all shakes out.”

Joseph Lord and Samantha Flom contributed to this report.

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