House passes GOP funding bill to avert government shutdown

By Piper Hudspeth Blackburn, Maureen Chowdhury and Tori B. Powell, CNN

Updated 8:05 p.m. ET, November 14, 2023
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4:39 p.m. ET, November 14, 2023

Burchett accuses McCarthy of elbowing him in the kidneys as former House speaker denies it

From CNN's Sam Fossum, Haley Talbot, Manu Raju and Annie Grayer and Melanie Zanona

Rep. Tim Burchett speaks with reporters outside the Capitol Building on Tuesday.
Rep. Tim Burchett speaks with reporters outside the Capitol Building on Tuesday. Francis Chung/POLITICO/AP

In a sign of how tense the dynamics are in the House Republican conference, GOP Rep. Tim Burchett accused Kevin McCarthy of elbowing him in the back while he was talking to a reporter after the party's conference meeting Tuesday morning.

Burchett told CNN that while he was speaking with a reporter in the hallway outside the meeting, McCarthy shoved by him as he walked passed with his security detail. Burchett said he then chased after McCarthy and the two had a conversation. 

McCarthy denied the incident to CNN’s Melanie Zanona and said “I didn’t shove or elbow him, it’s a tight hallway.” In lengthy remarks to reporters later in the day, he again denied he hit Burchett but said he will reach out to him to discuss the incident. 

Burchett, who was one of the eight Republicans who voted to oust McCarthy, has been heavily critical of the former speaker and the alleged altercation is the latest sign of the pressure cooker environment in the House GOP right now.

Speaking to CNN again later in the day, Burchett slammed McCarthy for being a “bully,” as he described his altercation with the former House GOP leader, saying he elbowed him in the kidneys.

“I got elbowed in the back and it kind of caught me off guard because it was a clean shot to the kidneys," Burchett told CNN’s Manu Raju. "And I turned back (and) there, there was Kevin, and for a minute, I was kind of what the heck just happened and then chased after him, of course."

“Now he's the type of guy that when you're a kid would throw a rock over the fence and run home and hide behind his mama's skirt," he added.

Burchett said McCarthy brushed him off when he went to confront him about the altercation. He added that he “raised his voice” and that McCarthy responded back to him with “that high pitched kind of thing.” 

“Of course, as he always did, does, he just denies it or blames somebody else or something. And ... it was just a little heated. But I just backed off because – I saw no reason. I wasn't gaining anything from it. Everybody saw it. So it didn't really matter,” he told CNN. 

When asked about McCarthy’s denials and his claim that the hallway was tight and it was an accident, Burchett said it wasn’t a serious explanation.

"There’s 435 congressmen, I was one of the eight that voted against him. That hallway was — there's plenty of room, you could walk four side-by-side. He chose to do what he did. And you know, it'll end right here. I'm sure it’ll just be a little asterisk on his storied career,” he said. 

The Tennessee Republican also accused the former speaker of using his substantial campaign war chest to interfere in members’ races and that he believes McCarthy – who has not yet said whether he will stay in the House – will be gone by the next Congress. 

More background: It has gotten tense between the two Republican lawmakers in recent weeks. McCarthy told CNN he was surprised Burchett was one of the eight House Republicans to vote to oust him from his speakership.

In the lead up to the vote, Burchett revealed that McCarthy was condescending about his statement that he was praying about whether to vote to oust McCarthy or not. 

The altercation also comes as tensions are at an all-time high in the House, as members have been in session for 10 weeks straight. House Speaker Mike Johnson said at his news conference on Tuesday that the Thanksgiving break will allow members to return home and “cool off.”

11:07 a.m. ET, November 14, 2023

House Democrats signal support for GOP funding bill after caucus meeting but Jeffries still not tipping hand

From CNN's Annie Grayer and Lauren Fox

House Democrats are signaling they will support the Republican short-term funding bill after their caucus meeting this morning as it does not have spending cuts or right-wing policy proposals tacked on. 

But House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries is still not tipping his hand. Jeffries said Democrats are still "evaluating" as a caucus and he's been in regular touch with House Speaker Mike Johnson. He did not disclose what message he's sent to the speaker. 

"We continue to express concerns with the bifurcated deadlines that seem to be somewhat unprecedented. And we're evaluating the potential adverse impact of that on the American people,” Jeffries said.

When asked if the spending bill would pass in the House today, he said "that remains to be seen."

Democratic rank-and-file lawmakers however were more direct.

“I think there is a general view that we came out on top,” Democratic Rep. Dan Goldman said while leaving the party's caucus meeting. 

Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the leader of the progressive caucus, also said she thought it was a victory for Democrats. She didn't make a final decision and said the progressive caucus is meeting later today to discuss it, but she signaled a strong willingness to back something that didn't include spending cuts.

House Appropriations ranking member

In the closed-door meeting, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, the House Appropriations ranking member, told her colleagues that Democrats should be trying to get some commitments from Johnson on what future spending levels on various agencies are going to be moving forward.

Her message to her colleagues was: “We can’t be a cheap date.”

A source familiar with the internal conversations told CNN that part of the reason that Democrats are being coy and not outright saying they will back the bill is that private conversations are still happening to try and figure out if any progress can be made on future spending levels.

10:25 a.m. ET, November 14, 2023

What to know about Rep. Mike Johnson — the new House speaker trying to get a funding bill passed

From CNN's Piper Hudspeth Blackburn and Shania Shelton

Rep. Mike Johnson casts his vote as the House of Representatives holds an election for a new Speaker of the House at the Capitol on October 25, in Washington, DC.
Rep. Mike Johnson casts his vote as the House of Representatives holds an election for a new Speaker of the House at the Capitol on October 25, in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Rep. Mike Johnson, who was elected as the new speaker of the GOP-led House in October, has been a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump and was a key congressional figure in the failed efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

His speakership — and ability to pass a new funding bill — will face a major test today as the House is expected to vote on legislation this afternoon to avert a government shutdown.

The Louisiana Republican was first elected to the House in 2016 and served as vice chairman of the House Republican Conference, as well as GOP deputy whip, an assistant leadership role.

An attorney with a focus on constitutional law, Johnson joined a group of House Republicans in voting to sustain the objection to electoral votes on January 6, 2021. During Trump’s first impeachment trial in January 2020, Johnson, along with a group of other GOP lawmakers, served a largely ceremonial role in Trump’s Senate impeachment team.

Johnson also sent an email from a personal email account in 2020 to every House Republican soliciting signatures for an amicus brief in the longshot Texas lawsuit seeking to invalidate electoral college votes from multiple states.

After the election was called in favor of Joe Biden on November 7, 2020, Johnson posted on X, then known as Twitter, “I have just called President Trump to say this: ‘Stay strong and keep fighting, sir! The nation is depending upon your resolve. We must exhaust every available legal remedy to restore Americans’ trust in the fairness of our election system.’”

Although Trump said he wouldn’t endorse anyone in the speaker’s race Wednesday, he leant support to Johnson in a post on Truth Social.

“In 2024, we will have an even bigger, & more important, WIN! My strong SUGGESTION is to go with the leading candidate, Mike Johnson, & GET IT DONE, FAST!” Trump posted.

Johnson serves on the Judiciary Committee and the Armed Services Committee. He is also a former chair of the Republican Study Committee.

After receiving a degree in business administration from Louisiana State University and a Juris Doctorate from the Paul M. Hebert Law Center, Johnson took on roles as a college professor and conservative talk radio host. He began his political career in the Louisiana legislature, where he served from 2015 to 2017, before being elected to Congress in Louisiana’s Fourth District.

Read more about Johnson.

10:37 a.m. ET, November 14, 2023

Johnson is facing conservative criticism over spending deal — but is defending his approach during GOP meeting

From CNN's Manu Raju

In a GOP conference meeting behind closed doors, Speaker Mike Johnson’s spending plan is facing criticism from some members of the House Freedom Caucus since it lacks spending cuts. 

But multiple attendees say that Johnson is pushing back and saying that his approach will avoid Congress being forced into a bad spending deal right before the holidays.

Additionally, he has challenged his colleagues to explain how they would avoid a shutdown or detail a plan to get out of one if they can’t pass a stop-gap bill.

Earlier Tuesday, the House Freedom Caucus, a group of roughly 30 hardliners, took an official position against Johnson’s plan.

10:23 a.m. ET, November 14, 2023

Jeffries keeps door open for supporting Johnson's funding bill, but doesn't commit to backing it

From CNN's Lauren Fox

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill November 9, in Washington, DC. 
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill November 9, in Washington, DC.  Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries told reporters that he is about to have a family conversation with his caucus about how to proceed with House Speaker Mike Johnson's short-term spending bill. 

Jeffries left the door open but didn't commit to backing it as he entered a Democratic caucus meeting, saying that it was important the bill didn't make spending cuts, which had been a redline for Democrats. 

"We are open minded," he said.

Asked by CNN if he was happy the bill was clean, the minority leader replied, "That was an important point for us that any continuing resolution be funded at the fiscal 2023 year levels."

Remember: Johnson is still facing a rebellion from his right wing as conservatives have criticized his plan and vowed to vote against it, leaving him in a position where he will likely need Democratic votes to pass the bill before the Friday deadline.

9:51 a.m. ET, November 14, 2023

House Freedom Caucus officially comes out against Johnson’s funding plan

From CNN's Melanie Zanona and Manu Raju

The conservative House Freedom Caucus, a group of roughly 30 hardliners, has taken an official position against House Speaker Mike Johnson’s two-part government funding plan.

This comes after Johnson met with the group last night, in hopes of assuaging their concerns over the bill, according to a source familiar.

The group advocated for the two-step approach, which Johnson agreed to, but they also wanted spending cuts, which Johnson did not include.  

Rep. Andy Ogles, a Freedom Caucus member, told CNN that Johnson’s plan to extend government funding without cuts amounts to a capitulation.

 “We are surrendering” to the Senate, he said, arguing that the GOP shouldn’t stand for the “status quo.”

 

9:16 a.m. ET, November 14, 2023

Analysis: Speaker Johnson adds an interesting twist to the familiar government shutdown plotline

From CNN's Zachary B. Wolf

Speaker of the House Rep. Mike Johnson arrives at a news briefing at the U.S. Capitol on November 2, in Washington, DC.
Speaker of the House Rep. Mike Johnson arrives at a news briefing at the U.S. Capitol on November 2, in Washington, DC. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Is this deja vu or something new?

The broad outlines of the government spending fight as it stands in November are the same as they were the last round.

A deadline looms. Funding expires after Friday, November 17, and lawmakers do not have a definitive plan to pass a stopgap government funding bill.

The House speaker is suggesting a temporary fix. But he is not insisting on spending cuts in this particular stopgap bill.

Republicans are split, again. A faction of right-wing Republicans already opposes the direction their leaders are heading. Read more from CNN’s Lauren Fox.

Democrats will be needed to make a majority. Averting a partial government shutdown will again require the votes of Democrats voting with Republicans.

But while a similar brew of factors cost former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy his job a little more than a month ago, there are some important differences that mean McCarthy’s replacement, Mike Johnson, may be on course to avoid a partial government shutdown with relatively little drama, at least for now.

The first is that Johnson, not McCarthy, is doing the negotiating. Still relatively unknown outside of Capitol Hill, Johnson appears to have enough credibility with the right-wing of the party. Anti-spending lawmakers are publicly opposing his approach but not currently threatening his position.

The second important detail is that Johnson has proposed a twist, which he’s calling the “laddered approach.”

Rather than a single bill for all government funding, he is suggesting a two-pronged approach that would fund some of the government – military construction, Veterans Affairs, transportation, housing and the Energy Department – until January 19 and the rest of the government until February 2.

Keep reading the analysis here.

9:18 a.m. ET, November 14, 2023

Johnson signals bipartisan support for his short-term funding bill

From CNN's Morgan Rimmer

House Speaker Mike Johnson speaks during a television interview on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on November 14.
House Speaker Mike Johnson speaks during a television interview on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on November 14. Stefani Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

House Speaker Mike Johnson told CNBC he believes there will be support from both sides of the aisle for his two-step, short-term spending bill, as Congress works to avert a shutdown at the end of the week.

“I think we’ll have bipartisan agreement that that is a better way to do it, to have the actual appropriations process,” Johnson said.

He warned that without a continuing resolutions (CR) that extend into next year, “the Senate jams the House,” and they will face a single, all-encompassing, government funding bill ahead of the holidays. 

“If we don’t do the two-step, the laddered CR, as we’re calling it – it’s a real innovation, it’s a paradigm shift for how Washington works – but what that will do is allow us to actually have those fights, have those debates, to do it out in the open so the American people can see it,” he said. “If we don’t do that, what is going to happen and what would have happened here again is another dreaded Christmas omnibus spending bill.”

Johnson noted that he isn’t sure how many House Republicans will vote against the plan, but they plan to figure out the “final numbers” in their conference meeting later this morning.

Pressed on how his passing a clean, short-term spending bill is different from when Speaker Kevin McCarthy did the same thing, and was ostensibly ousted over it, Johnson tried to argue that they are two different situations.

“What we’re doing now is a little bit different than what Kevin was presented with. He was in a jam as well, but by breaking this up and doing the CR the way we are, it’s a new shift,” he said, noting that a House Freedom Caucus member, Rep. Andy Harris, came up with the idea of splitting it into two parts.

Johnson also argued that creating two fiscal cliffs early next year will not make the government funding process more difficult.  

12:21 p.m. ET, November 14, 2023

A short-term funding bill to avert a government shutdown is about to expire. Here's how we got here

From CNN staff

A government shutdown was prevented after Congress passed a stopgap funding measure in September.

President Joe Biden signed the bill just ahead of the deadline. It was a long and contentious process which ultimately cost Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy his speakership.

Here's what happened:

How it came together: Then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced the stopgap proposal on the morning of September 30, a move that came after weeks of infighting among House Republicans and a failed effort to pass a GOP stopgap bill in the chamber. The bill passed the House with an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote, and it then was sent to the Senate. The final vote was 88 to 9.

The short-term spending bill will keep the government open through this Friday, November 17 and includes natural disaster aid but not additional funding for Ukraine or border security.

Concerns over Ukraine funding: The stopgap bill originally included funding for Ukraine to help Kyiv fight the full-scale invasion from Russia, but the funds were dropped after some conservatives raised objections during negotiations.

Democratic Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet briefly held up the vote on the bill after he objected over concerns about the lack of funding in it. Bipartisan members of Senate leadership released a joint statement committing to vote on further funding for Ukraine aid "in the coming weeks."

McCarthy's fate: The decision by McCarthy to put a bill on the floor that gained support from Democrats ultimately cost him the speakership after hardline conservatives moved forward with their threat to oust him from the top House leadership post.