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Johnson's temporary spending bill passes with more Democrat than GOP votes, signaling future strife

“I’m done with short term CRs,” Johnson said in November 2023 after Congress passed a two-step CR with Jan. 19 and Feb. 2 appropriations deadlines.

Published: January 18, 2024 11:00pm

Updated: January 19, 2024 6:14am

The GOP-led House passed a continuing resolution (CR) on Thursday to extend current federal funding levels to avoid a government shutdown, despite House Speaker Johnson having previously vowed not to pursue any more temporary spending bills.

“I’m done with short term CRs,” Johnson said in November 2023 after Congress passed a two-step CR with Jan. 19 and Feb. 2 appropriations deadlines.

Johnson decided to put the Democratic Senate’s short-term continuing resolution on the House floor for a vote on Thursday, despite harsh criticism from House Republicans about his strategy, and it passed with more votes from Democrats than Republicans.

A group of 8 conservatives, along with all House Democrats, supported the ousting of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy after he put a 45-day CR on the House floor to avoid a government shutdown. At the time, those conservatives wanted to see 12 single-subject appropriations bills passed as a way to curb government spending, instead of short-term bills that simply continue current funding levels.

In late November of last year, Johnson met with Senate Republicans and reportedly said he wouldn’t be able to move forward on another CR.

“He said he doesn't have any chance of passing another short-term CR, he was clear about that," said Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D. "And that if all else fails, most likely we get a year-long [extension]."

This month, Johnson and Senate Majority Leader Schumer had agreed to a $1.59 trillion top line spending deal for the rest of fiscal year 2024 but it faced immediate opposition from hard-line conservatives in the House GOP conference. The short-term CR that passed on Thursday includes new funding deadlines of March 1 and March 8, setting the stage for another shutdown showdown.

“I have a job to do,” Johnson said Wednesday night on CNN when asked if he was concerned about being ousted over passing a CR with Democrat and Republican votes. 

“I’m not worried about that. I’ve got a job to do here, and we have to make sure that we get the answers that we’ve demanded,” he added.

On Thursday afternoon, there was talk of adding border security language into the CR in the House after House Freedom Caucus Chairman Bob Good, R-Va., said the speaker was considering the move. The speaker’s office said he would not pursue that path.

“The plan has not changed. The House is voting on the stop gap measure tonight to keep the government open,” said the speaker’s spokesperson Raj Shah on X.

House and Senate negotiators are in discussions about a potential foreign aid supplemental spending bill in addition to the CR. GOP negotiators are pushing for border security measures from the House-passed H.R. 2 legislation to be included in the deal.

In the House, 207 Democrats and 107 Republicans voted in favor of temporary CR. The legislation passed 314-108. There were 18 Republicans who voted against the bill in the Senate. It ultimately passed 77-18.

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