With time running out on the 45-day stop-gap funding bill, Speaker Johnson is searching for a way to keep the government funded without losing his job.
House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) floated the idea of a “laddered” continuing resolution (CR), a novel idea for avoiding a potential government shutdown on Nov. 17, when the 45-day stop-gap funding law expires.
“Potentially, you would do a CR that extends individual pieces of the appropriations process, individual bills,” Mr. Johnson said at a Nov. 2 press conference.
The idea could be a lifesaver for the newly elected speaker, who could soon find himself between the same rock and hard place that crushed his predecessor: the choice between allowing the government to shut down for lack of funding and passing a stop-gap spending bill.
In his first full week as speaker, Mr. Johnson is racing to complete the 12 spending bills required by law before the Nov. 17 deadline. When that’s complete, discrepancies between the two sets of bills must be ironed out between the two chambers.
That’s not going to happen by Nov. 17, according to Mr. Johnson.
“We’ve run out of clock on this,” he said.
The clock already ran out once.
As the fiscal year came to a close on Sept. 30, none of the 12 spending bills were signed into law. In the final moments before midnight, then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) presented a 45-day stop-gap funding bill, which was passed with bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate.
That cost Mr. McCarthy his job as eight Republicans organized his ouster for what they saw as a collaboration with Democrats and an extension of the Biden administration’s spending plan.
With time running out again, Mr. Johnson had hoped to pass a second, longer-term stop-gap funding bill that would cover government spending into the new year.
“My initial idea was to extend that to January 18 to get us beyond the sort of like Christmas rush and things that typically jam us in the house,” he said, a reference to the massive, $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill that Democrats passed on a party-line vote just before the 2022 holidays.