Washington — Congress is on the brink of another shutdown, as it has failed to make any significant progress on passing bills to fund the government since it narrowly avoided a shutdown in late September.
The current funding expires on Nov. 17, but the Senate, led by Democrats, and the House, controlled by Republicans, have not reached a consensus on how to keep the government running beyond that date.
“We certainly want to avoid a government shutdown,” said House Speaker Mike Johnson of Louisiana on Tuesday.
However, House Republicans have not revealed their strategy for funding the government, as they have been busy trying to elect a new House speaker after California Rep. Kevin McCarthy was forced out over the short-term bipartisan deal that prevented a shutdown at the end of September.
Johnson acknowledged last week that another temporary measure, known as a continuing resolution, was necessary.
He proposed several alternatives, including a “laddered” approach that would fund different appropriations bills for different periods of time.
“You would do one part of a subset of the bills by a December date and the rest of it by a January date,” Johnson said on Tuesday.
He also mentioned a possibility of a stopgap measure that would last until January “with certain stipulations.”
As of Thursday afternoon, it was still unclear how House Republicans would move forward. The House also scrapped votes on two funding bills for the second time in a week, as they lacked enough support to pass, adding to the chaos.
House Democrats have demanded a “clean” continuing resolution, which would maintain government funding at the same levels as the previous year, and have rejected the “laddered” approach.
“We’ll see next week what we actually do,” said Republican Rep. John Duarte of California on Thursday. “A lot of it will have to do with, can we pass some clean appropriations bills and get the monkey business out of them.”
Hard-line members who pushed out McCarthy over the last stopgap measure when it did not satisfy their requirements might give Johnson some leeway given the short time since he became the speaker, but the absence of any spending cuts also risks angering them.
The Senate is expected to vote on a stopgap measure next week, but it is not clear how long it would fund the government. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the Senate would not approve any partisan bills from the House.
Source Youtube: MSNBC