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
19 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
4:14 p.m. ET, November 14, 2023

The House is set to vote this afternoon on a bill to prevent a government shutdown. Catch up on the latest

From CNN's Clare Foran and Haley Talbot

The House is expected to vote this afternoon to pass a stopgap bill to keep the government open, putting Congress on a path to avert a shutdown and setting the stage for a broader funding fight in the new year.

If the House passes the bill, the Senate will next need to approve the measure. Government funding is currently set to expire at the end of the week on Friday, November 17.

In the first major test of his leadership, newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson is pursuing an unusual two-step plan that would set up two new shutdown deadlines in January and February.

If you are just reading in, catch up on the latest:

What the bill would do: The bill would extend funding until January 19 for priorities including military construction, veterans’ affairs, transportation, housing and the Energy Department. The rest of the government — anything not covered by the first step — would be funded until February 2. The proposal does not include additional aid for Israel or Ukraine.

The plan would give lawmakers more time to attempt to negotiate and pass full-year spending bills, though major partisan divisions would make that effort fraught and complicated. Johnson has argued that his plan would prevent Congress from passing a massive spending bill in December — a scenario that has played out many times before when lawmakers have faced a deadline right before the winter holidays.

Freedom Caucus opposes Johnson's plan: The short-term funding plan has already resulted in backlash from some conservatives, a dynamic that will force House Republican leaders to turn to Democrats for votes to pass it as the GOP holds only a narrow majority in the chamber.

The conservative House Freedom Caucus, a group of roughly 30 hardliners, has taken an official position against 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.

A number of conservatives oppose the stopgap bill because it would not implement the deep spending cuts they have demanded. Instead, it would extend funding at current levels. As a result, it will need significant Democratic support to pass the House.

Republican leadership is bringing the bill to the House floor under a procedure known as suspension of the rules, which requires a two-thirds majority vote to pass.

Read more about the bill.

CNN’s Kristin Wilson, Annie Grayer and Lauren Fox contributed to this report.

3:13 p.m. ET, November 14, 2023

Republican whip says he's optimistic House spending bill would pass in the Senate

From CNN's Lauren Fox

Republican Whip John Thune, a senator from South Dakota, said he’s optimistic the House’s spending bill – if passed today – will also advance easily in the Senate “without a lot of fanfare." But he warned the Senate will still have a lot of work to do when it comes back in December. 

Assuming the Senate passes its spending bill until January and February, the Senate still has to move ahead with trying to conference the National Defense Authorization Act – a defense policy bill – with the House.

That bill has more than 60 years of history passing with bipartisan support, but the House version is full of social policy riders that Democrats in the Senate will not accept.

The Senate also has to deal with the FAA bill when it returns and will continue trying to find a way forward to provide aid to Ukraine and Israel. Republicans have insisted that any money for Ukraine will need to be paired with a robust border security package, adding a lot of uncertainty as to whether it can pass. 

Those talks over the border, Thune said, were not going well. 

“I think Democrats are going through the stages of grief and eventually they are going to get to acceptance that they are not going to get a package absent a good strong border security provision,” he said. 
2:56 p.m. ET, November 14, 2023

GOP Sen. Murkowski says she's concerned Johnson's bill will impact future government funding

From CNN's Sam Fossum

GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, told CNN she’s concerned about Speaker Mike Johnson’s two-step stopgap bill but signaled she would ultimately support it in order to avoid a shutdown.  

“It’s not my preferred approach, but it will avoid a government shutdown,” she told CNN of the bill.

When asked if she’d support the measure if it does pass the House, Murkowski said: “I think first steps is we have to see what the House does. Based on what I've heard this morning, it sounds like they probably have the votes to send it over. Again, it's going to be important to avoid a government shutdown and I will support that. I am a little bit worried about pushing, pushing things off until both January and February.”

The bill Johnson is putting on the floor this afternoon will extend parts of the government until January 19 and the rest of the government that’s not covered by the first step until February 2.

“I think it is almost somewhat ironic that the date of the second extension takes us to February 2, which as most people will remember is Groundhog's Day. And it kind of feels a little bit like Groundhog's Day around here as we, as we move to move these things off," Murkowski said. 

She also expressed concern that pushing the funding deadline to next year will impact Congress’ ability to pass appropriations bills for 2025. 

“We're going to be setting ourselves up for a situation where we have not finished off ‘24. ‘25 will be fast upon us and we will be two months into the new calendar year. So, it just sets up a really difficult schedule,” she said.

1:43 p.m. ET, November 14, 2023

Senate will punt on Ukraine and Israel aid until after Thanksgiving, Schumer says

From CNN's Morgan Rimmer and Manu Raju

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters that the combined national security package — which includes aid for Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan and the border — will be taken up by the chamber after Thanksgiving, as senators from both parties negotiate the border policy piece.

Schumer said that he wants "very strongly, all four requests of the president be approved — Ukraine, Israel, humanitarian, and Indo-Pacific. And we’re going to work very hard to get that down," adding that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his request to have border security added to the package is one of the holdups.

"We have Democrats and Republicans working together to try to come up with a border security package that will have bipartisan support. But we have to get this done, and as soon as we come back in Thanksgiving, it will be a very high priority, get all four of them done, all four have bipartisan support in the House. Together," he said.

Asked about House GOP efforts to separate the package into smaller, standalone bills, Schumer replied, “We need bipartisan support for all four, and I’m going to work strenuously, very hard to get all four done.”

On the plan to avert a government shutdown: The majority leader reiterated his support for House Speaker Mike Johnson’s short-term spending bill, despite his misgivings over dividing funding into two tranches — he called the two-step idea “goofy.”

“When it comes to government funding, as I have long said, it has to be bipartisan. And right now, that’s the path we seem to be on. I’m heartened — very cautiously so — that Speaker Johnson is moving forward with a CR (continuing resolution) that precisely omits the sort of hard right cuts that would have been nonstarters for Democrats,” Schumer said.

He went on to say that he doesn't agree with everything Johnson is proposing, and added, “I can’t imagine too many senators would have taken the speaker’s approach in drafting this bill, on either the Democratic or Republican sides here in the Senate."

Pressed by CNN on the White House’s dismissal of the proposal on Saturday, Schumer was confident that President Joe Biden will accept the bill if it is passed by Congress. “I think that we all want to avoid a shutdown. I’ve talked to the White House, and both of us agree that if this can avoid a shutdown, it’ll be a good thing," he said.

Schumer added that the Senate will take up the spending bill as soon as possible. “When it comes here, if the House should pass it and I hope they do, Leader McConnell and I will figure out the best way to get this done quickly. Neither McConnell nor I want a shutdown,” he said, noting that they discussed this yesterday.

12:16 p.m. ET, November 14, 2023

Key things to know about House Speaker Mike Johnson's two-step plan to keep the government open

From CNN's Annie Grayer, Lauren Fox and Manu Raju

House Speaker Mike Johnson speaks in the House chamber after his election at the U.S. Capitol on October 25, in Washington, DC.
House Speaker Mike Johnson speaks in the House chamber after his election at the U.S. Capitol on October 25, in Washington, DC. Win McNamee/Getty Images

Newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson announced a two-step plan for funding the government on a GOP conference call with members Saturday afternoon. “I wasn’t the architect of the mess we are in,” he argued, according to a source on the call.

The House is expected to vote on the plan on the floor this afternoon. Two-thirds of the House will have to support the bill for it to pass.

While Johnson embraced the right-wing members of his conference by pitching the two-step approach, he didn’t fully cave to their wishes. The package does not include the deep spending cuts his right flank pushed for but instead extends funding at its current levels.

“This two-step continuing resolution is a necessary bill to place House Republicans in the best position to fight for conservative victories,” Johnson said in a statement Saturday.

Here's how the plan would work:

  • The first bill would extend funding until January 19 and would include funding for military construction, Veterans Affairs, transportation, housing and the Energy Department.
  • The second part of the bill, which would extend funding until February 2, would include funding for the rest of the government.

Neither bill includes additional aid for Israel or Ukraine.

The two-step approach was widely pushed by Republican hardliners but dismissed by many senators as a complicated solution that would be hard to execute. Still, given that funding for the agencies would stay at current levels, it could be harder for Democrats to reject.

A Senate Democratic leadership aide signaled their openness to Johnson’s funding plan, telling CNN, “It’s a good thing the speaker didn’t include unnecessary cuts and kept defense funding with the second group of programs.”

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, however, cast Johnson’s plan as “a recipe for more Republican chaos and more shutdowns – full stop.”

“House Republicans need to stop wasting time on their own political divisions, do their jobs, and work in a bipartisan way to prevent a shutdown,” Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

Ahead of the conference call Saturday, Republicans had been weighing multiple options, including a more straightforward stopgap bill with some added sweeteners along with the more complicated two-step approach Johnson is pitching. The conference has been divided over which option to pursue, with appropriators in favor of a “clean” stopgap bill and members of the Freedom Caucus pushing the laddered approach.

Keep reading about the plan here.

11:51 a.m. ET, November 14, 2023

House Republicans largely coalesce around Johnson's plan ahead of expected floor vote

From CNN's Haley Talbot

House Republicans are largely in agreement that Speaker Mike Johnson's funding bill will clear the chamber later Tuesday, despite some strong opposition within their own ranks on the actual continuing resolution (CR) itself.

“Nobody wants a shutdown. And maybe even the people who are frustrated don't want to shut down. They just have differing degree in tactics,” North Dakota Rep. Kelly Armstrong said.

House Republicans are also mostly aligned that Speaker Mike Johnson will be spared the same fate that felled his predecessor following the passage of the last CR.

Armstrong suggested the ousting of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy would have happened with or without the passage of the September continuing resolution.

“I think that the clean CR was an excuse to oust McCarthy. There was a lot of bad blood that existed prior to all of that,” Armstrong said, but he’s spared Johnson from the inability of the House to pass standalone spending bills and then conference them with the Senate. “We stepped on a rake. We kind of put ourselves in this position. It's pretty hard to negotiate with the Senate when you can't get your own appropiations bills off the floor.”

And, they argue, even the new continuing resolution buys them time to do what they consider their primary goal – funding the government with individual funding bills.

“Republicans fully intend on funding the government. We're doing it in a staggered way for the first time because we believe that is better for all parties to break it into two, knowing that it's going to take time to get it done,” California Rep. Darrell Issa said.

Even some of the more conservative House Republicans who are opposed to the new continuing resolution – and who voted to oust McCarthy — are willing to spare Johnson their ire.

“He’s had two weeks to pass it. His predecessor had had since January, and then he jammed us up against the September 30 deadline,” Rep. Tim Burchett said, but suggested Johnson has one saving grace that McCarthy doesn’t. “I’ll just tell you that Speaker Johnson hasn't lied to me. That’s a good thing.”

2:13 p.m. ET, November 14, 2023

Gaetz filing formal ethics complaint against McCarthy over Burchett altercation

From CNN's Melanie Zanona

GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz is filing a formal ethics complaint against Kevin McCarthy over an altercation he said he had with Rep. Tim Burchett this morning, according to a copy of the document obtained by CNN – the latest sign of escalating tension between McCarthy and his critics in the wake of his unprecedented ouster.

Burchett accused McCarthy of shoving him and elbowing him in the back in a hallway outside a GOP conference meeting. McCarthy denied the interaction was intentional, telling CNN it was a “tight hallway.” Burchett disputed that, and said there was “plenty of room” in the hallway.

Gaetz – who has been one of McCarthy’s chief antagonists and led the push to oust him as speaker – did not witness the interaction, but anyone can file a complaint to the House Ethics Committee. Burchett, however, said he did not plan to file a complaint, but Gaetz said they still have a “duty to investigate” and accused McCarthy of violating the members code of conduct.

“Needless to say, this incident deserves immediate and swift investigation by the Ethics Committee. This Congress has seen a substantial increase in breaches of decorum unlike anything we have seen since the pre-Civil War era,” Gaetz wrote in the letter to the House Ethics Committee. “I myself have been a victim of outrageous conduct on the House floor as well, but nothing like an open and public assault on a Member, committed by another Member. The rot starts at the top. 

Both Gaetz and Burchett were among the eight Republicans who voted remove McCarthy as speaker, and McCarthy recently unloaded on the group in an interview with CNN's Manu Raju, with McCarthy especially singling out Gaetz and noting Gaetz is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee.

Now, Gaetz is elevating their feud even further with this latest complaint.

11:43 a.m. ET, November 14, 2023

Speaker Johnson defends stopgap approach amid conservative outrage

From CNN's Haley Talbot and Manu Raju

Mike Johnson speaks at the Capitol Building on Tuesday.
Mike Johnson speaks at the Capitol Building on Tuesday. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

House Speaker Mike Johnson defended his approach to avert a government shutdown and insisted his handling of the situation differs from former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, for which he was ousted, insisting his speakership is no less secure despite this move. 

“Kevin was in a very difficult situation when that happened,” Johnson said in remarks to reporters. “This is a different situation, the innovation that we created, this new vehicle that the Democrats initially said was so frightening, actually turns out to be something that will change the way we do this.”

Johnson confirmed he will head to the floor this afternoon and use Democratic votes to pass his stopgap measure, but vowed he is “done with short-term" continuing resolutions — a big promise that will set up a nasty fight down the line. 

The new speaker defended his approach on the short-term measure, saying he is not giving in.

“We're not surrendering, we're fighting. But you have to be wise about choosing the fights," he said.

“You got to fight fights that you can win,” he added.

Johnson also vowed to never pass a short-term continuing resolution in the future and touted his two-step approach as an “innovation.” 

"The House Republican Conference is committed to never be in this situation again," he said.

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

Schumer says he is cautiously "heartened" by House Republicans' short-term funding bill

From CNN's Kristin Wilson

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he is “heartened, cautiously so” at the pending spending bill that the House will take up today, saying that it seems to avoid many of the poison pills that has doomed other spending bills in the Senate. 

“Time is a luxury that neither side has,” he said in floor remarks. “So far, I am heartened, cautiously so, that Speaker Johnson is moving forward with a CR (continuing resolution) that omits precisely the sort of hard right cuts that would have been non-starters for Democrats.”

Schumer says he “doesn’t imagine too many senators would have taken the speaker’s approach in drafting this bill” but says that it will avert a shutdown, and does so without cuts to spending.

“I hope the speaker does not yield to the demands of the hard right as we try to keep the government open. Instead I hope that the Speaker continues to recognize he will need democratic votes in order to avoid a shutdown," he said.