Johnson’s Dual-Level Emergency Fund Strategy Unveiled



House Republicans are planning a stopgap measure to extend spending for several government agencies to mid-January or early February, sparking potential conflict with the Senate and White House as a partial government shutdown looms. Speaker Mike Johnson’s plan excludes President Joe Biden’s requested supplemental funding packages. Meanwhile, the House Rules Committee has added the draft stopgap measure to its Monday meeting agenda.

House Republicans’ Stopgap Measure Stirs Senate Showdown

House Republicans are pushing a stopgap measure to extend spending for some agencies until mid-January and others till early February. The decision could potentially lead to a clash with the Senate and White House as the deadline to prevent a partial government shutdown looms. The draft bill would continue funding for certain agencies under Military Construction-VA, Agriculture, Energy-Water, and Transportation-HUD bills until Jan. 19. Other agencies covered by eight different bills would be granted an extension until Feb. 2.

The current temporary spending law expires this Friday. However, this proposal excludes the supplemental funding packages requested by President Joe Biden, including the $106 billion allocation for Israel, Ukraine, and U.S.-Mexico border management.

Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., argues that the bill counters the trend of jam-packed spending bills introduced right before the Christmas recess. However, repelling the proposal may prove difficult for Johnson, particularly in the Democratic-controlled Senate, which has been considering a simpler approach.

House Republicans face criticism from White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who calls for bipartisan cooperation to prevent a shutdown. If the two-step plan fails in both chambers, Johnson plans to propose a full-year CR with increases only for defense and national security priorities.

Staggered Negotiations and Other Extensions

The current CR version anticipates quicker negotiations on several bills already passed. Additionally, it provides for increased funding rates in specific areas. For example, the procurement of a Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine and Secret Service operations related to the 2024 presidential campaign.

The measure also extends most lapsed farm bill programs until Sept. 30, 2024, and ensures the extension of several expiring health care provisions. Furthermore, it renews a Medicare physician payment “extender” and delays changes to Medicare clinical laboratory test payments for an additional year. The National Flood Insurance Program would also be extended until Feb. 2.

Senate Response to House Plans

Despite certain Democratic support in the Senate, the bill may face a tough journey. Senate Appropriations Chair Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Senate Transportation-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, have expressed their disapproval. Senate Democratic leaders have been contemplating a more conventional stopgap measure that extends spending for all agencies until Jan. 19.

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