Days from government shutdown, President Johnson may need short-term spending bill he previously opposed

Senate Republicans have said repeatedly this week that a short-term spending bill may be necessary to keep the government open, a harsh reality for House Speaker Mike Johnson, who is balancing a looming shutdown deadline with the demands of hardline Republicans. .

The last temporary spending bill passed by Congress, in November, established a staggered funding schedule deadlinesthe first on January 19 and the other on February 2. On Sunday, members of Congress reached an agreement on a spending bill, but must still negotiate four separate appropriations bills by Jan. 19 to keep the government open.

As the first deadline approaches, members have expressed increasing doubts about whether a shutdown can be avoided without another ongoing resolution or CR.

“Time is so pressed and the deadline so short that I fear we are looking at another short-term continuing resolution,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said in an interview Wednesday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

Cornyn echoes Sen. John Thune, RS.D., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who both said this week that a shutdown funding measure looks increasingly inevitable.

Meanwhile, all eyes are on Johnson to pursue the hard-line Republican demands he was elected to champion. If not, he could face the same fate as his predecessor, former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who was ousted in part because he conceded to Democrats to avoid a government shutdown.

Johnson said he plans to call former President Donald Trump on Wednesday to “discuss the details” of the budget negotiations.

“He and I have a very close relationship,” Johnson said Wednesday on “The Hugh Hewitt Show.” “He has been an enthusiastic supporter of my leadership here and I expect he will be again.”

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While sticking to the hardline demands would win Johnson points with some House Republicans, it makes negotiations with Democrats more difficult by adding time to budget talks that he doesn’t have.

Another CR would be a tough pill to swallow for Johnson, who has pledged to break the pattern of funding the government through short bursts instead of a coherent budget.

“I think running from CR and shutting down the government is a dereliction of duty. I don’t think it’s the way it’s supposed to be done,” Johnson told a Wall Street Journal conference in December. “And what we’re going to try to do over the next year is get us back into the process that the law requires so we don’t find ourselves in this situation again.”

Congress left for the holiday season with many issues unresolved, with negotiations running through 2024. As time dwindles, Johnson may be forced to renege on his no-CR pledge.

To add to Johnson’s dilemmas, hard-line House Republicans may not offer him the same leeway as they did in November, when he was just a month into his term as speaker and ceded spending cuts to Democrats to pass the temporary funding bill.

“For now, I am pleased that President Johnson appears to be moving in our direction by advancing a CR that does not include the highly partisan cuts that Democrats have warned about,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN. Y. year.

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