House GOP Implements Two-Step Plan to Prevent Government Shutdown
House Republicans are proposing a two-step plan to fund the government, which maintains funding at its current levels without the deep spending cuts some members of the party aimed for. The first bill extends funding until January 19 and includes funding for military construction, Veterans Affairs, transportation, housing, and the Energy Department, while the second extends funding until February 2 and covers the rest of the government. The proposal has been criticized by some conservatives for not containing the desired spending cuts, while others have praised it for avoiding contentious budget cuts and maintaining defense funding.
House Republicans Propose Two-Step Government Funding Plan
As Congress approaches Friday’s spending deadline, House Republicans propose a two-step plan to fund the government, avoiding deep spending cuts demanded by right-wing members.
Speaker Mike Johnson, elected recently, shared the plan on a GOP conference call, emphasizing that he did not create the current predicament.
Johnson’s proposal, not embracing right-wing demands for significant spending cuts, aims to extend funding at present levels. He described the two-step continuing resolution as a necessary process to put House Republicans in a strong position for conservative victories.
The initial bill would extend funding until January 19, covering areas like military construction, Veterans Affairs, transportation, housing, and the Energy Department. The second bill, extending funding until February 2, would cover the remaining parts of the government. However, neither bill includes additional aid for Israel or Ukraine.
Despite Republican hardliners pushing for this two-step approach, many senators dismiss it as a complicated solution hard to execute. Still, with agency funding maintained at current levels, Democrats may find it hard to reject.
A Senate Democratic leadership aide expressed openness to Johnson’s funding plan, appreciating the absence of unnecessary cuts and the inclusion of defense funding. However, the White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre criticized Johnson’s plan, calling it a precursor to more Republican chaos and potential shutdowns.
Johnson’s approach involves multiple options, ranging from a straightforward stopgap bill with added benefits to the more complicated two-step process. The GOP conference is divided over which option to pursue.
Opposed to Johnson’s plan, far-right House Freedom Caucus member, GOP Rep. Chip Roy, criticized the lack of deep spending cuts. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries labeled the two-step continuing resolution as a right-wing joyride that could crash the economy.
Senior Democratic sources are observing how Johnson handles his divided conference, waiting for any changes to the plans before taking a position.
Johnson will first need approval for a rule to set parameters for a floor debate to get the bill accepted by a majority in the House. If they fail to pass a rule, suspension of the rules is required, needing a two-thirds majority and substantial Democratic support.
The Democrats are privately critical of Johnson’s strategy but also acknowledge he avoided their red line – spending cuts. The key to unlocking the GOP’s floor strategy could be the number of Democrats supporting the plan.
If a spending plan isn’t passed by Friday, many government operations will halt. Essential functions will continue, with each federal agency devising a contingency plan outlining functions that will continue during a shutdown.
A government shutdown on a national scale can have significant economic consequences, including increasing unemployment rate, lowering GDP growth, and raising borrowing costs. They can hamper growth and foster uncertainty, especially if prolonged. Some of these costs include raising the unemployment rate, lowering gross domestic product growth, and raising borrowing costs.
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