House passes GOP stopgap bill to avert government shutdown

More Democrats voted to pass the bill than Republicans. The House Freedom Caucus — a group of about 45 far-right Republicans — opposed the bill for containing "no spending cuts, no border security, and not a single meaningful win for the American people."

Photo by Gage Skidmore on Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

On Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed Speaker Mike Johnson’s two-step stopgap funding bill to avert a government shutdown just ahead of the Friday deadline.

The Continuing Resolution (CR) sets up two future funding deadlines while maintaining government spending at current Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 levels. Funding for four of the 12 annual appropriations bills would expire on Jan. 19, while funding for the rest of the government would be extended until Feb. 2.

Lawmakers passed the CR in a 336–95 vote, with 209 Democrats and 127 Republicans voting in favor and 93 Republicans and 2 Democrats opposing the bill.

House Speaker Johnson said the resolution was the best way to avert a shutdown and avoid a pre-Christmas omnibus bill despite concerns from hardline Republicans that it didn’t cut any funding or include conservative policy riders.

“I’m one of the archconservatives, okay? And I want to cut spending right now, and I would like to put policy riders on this,” Johnson told reporters ahead of the vote. “But when you have a three-vote majority, as we do right now, we don’t have the votes to advance that right now.” He emphasized, “We’re not surrendering, we’re fighting,” adding, “But you have to be wise about choosing the fights. You’ve got to fight fights that you can win.”

The bill now goes to the Senate, where it’s expected to be approved ahead of the Friday deadline. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that he and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell would work together to move the stopgap bill to the floor as quickly as possible.

“We would like to do it as soon as possible,” Schumer told reporters Tuesday after the House vote. “Both McConnell and I want to avoid a shutdown, so getting this done obviously before Friday at midnight—we know the Senate has lots of arcane rules. But McConnell and I are going to work together. We talked about this yesterday, to get it done as quickly as possible.”

At the same time, the House Freedom Caucus — a group of about 45 far-right Republicans — issued a statement indicating that it would oppose Johnson’s resolution. “The House Freedom Caucus opposes the proposed ‘clean’ Continuing Resolution as it contains no spending reductions, no border security, and not a single meaningful win for the American people,” the statement reads. “Republicans must stop negotiating against ourselves over fears of what the Senate may do with the promise ‘roll over today and we’ll fight tomorrow.'”