On Tuesday, the House greenlit a bill to prevent a government shutdown, ushering it toward the Senate, where it is anticipated to gain approval.
The proposed “laddered” continuing resolution (CR) intends to finance specific government sectors until January 19 and others until February 2.
Once the Senate approves, the bill will reach President Joe Biden, who has indicated his willingness to sign it. Failure to secure passage by both chambers and presidential approval before 11:59 p.m. ET on Friday could result in a government shutdown.
The House saw bipartisan backing for the CR, crucial for its passage, as Republican leaders opted for a procedural move requiring a two-thirds majority rather than a simple majority.
The final vote tally showed 336 in favor and 95 opposed, with 127 Republicans aligning with 209 Democrats to push the bill through. Notably, 93 Republicans broke ranks with party leaders to oppose the bill, while only 2 Democrats voted against it.
The bipartisan vote is an early signal from newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) that he is open to bipartisan collaboration on essential legislation.
However, it could also present challenges within his caucus, reminiscent of the discontent that contributed to the removal of his predecessor, former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, just over a month ago.
Under Johnson’s two-stage funding expiration plan, specific federal programs, including the Food and Drug Administration, military construction, veterans benefits, transportation, housing, urban development, agriculture, energy, and water programs, would be funded until January 19.
The cutoff date for all other programs would be February 2. Johnson asserts that this strategy gives the House the time needed to advance full-year agency funding bills through the regular appropriations process.
Despite initial reservations, Democrats publicly supported the bill on Tuesday to avert a shutdown. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) emphasized Democrats’ insistence on setting the CR at the fiscal year 2023 spending level without harmful cuts or extreme right-wing policy riders.
The conservative House Freedom Caucus opposed the resolution, citing the absence of spending reductions, border security provisions, and meaningful victories for the American people.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) assured a swift Senate process if the bill gained House approval, working collaboratively with Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).