WASHINGTON: US House Speaker Mike Johnson’s plan to avert a government shutdown faces a key test on Tuesday (Nov 14), as he tries to overcome hardline opposition from his own Republican conference, even as some Democrats signal tentative support for the measure.
Johnson, who had little senior congressional leadership experience before being elected speaker less than three weeks ago, is trying to muster Republican support for a “clean” two-step continuing resolution, or CR, that would keep federal funding levels unchanged into early next year.
To avert a fourth shutdown in a decade, the Republican-controlled House and Democratic-led Senate must agree on a CR that President Joe Biden can sign into law before current funding for federal agencies expires on Friday.
House Republicans hope to vote on Tuesday on the measure to avoid a shutdown that would disrupt pay for up to 4 million federal workers, close national parks and hobble everything from financial oversight to scientific research.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Congress’ top Democrat, gave a tentative welcome to the proposal on Monday.
“For now, I am pleased that Speaker Johnson seems to be moving in our direction by advancing a CR that does not include the highly partisan cuts that Democrats have warned against,” Schumer said.
But House Republican hardliners are threatening to use procedural roadblocks to stop the bill from advancing.
“This is the wrong approach,” said Representative Chip Roy, who told reporters he would block debate on the bill to prevent it from passing with bipartisan support despite “a whole lot of opposition” from Republicans.