Congress faces short week to avert government shutdown

For all the latest developments in Congress, follow WTOP Capitol Hill correspondent Mitchell Miller at Today on the Hill.

Congress has a tight window this week to approve a new, short-term spending plan that will require bipartisan support to avoid a government shutdown.

The continuing resolution announced Sunday by House Speaker Mike Johnson and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer calls for spending to be extended to March 1 for some agencies and March 8 for others.

That would give appropriators more time to sort out complicated spending issues.

The current deadline for a partial government shutdown is Friday night. A second deadline is Feb. 2, under the “laddered” continuing resolution that was passed last year.

Schumer plans for a procedural vote Tuesday, when lawmakers return after the federal holiday, to get the legislative ball rolling toward final approval of the latest stopgap spending measure.

“To avoid a shutdown, it will take bipartisan cooperation in the Senate and the House to quickly pass the CR and send it to the President’s desk before Friday’s funding deadline,” Schumer said.

But conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus are highly critical of plans to vote on another short-term spending bill.

“This is what surrender looks like,” the group of GOP lawmakers said in a post on X.

Conservatives last week tried to pressure Johnson into scrapping an agreement with Schumer reached earlier this month on a top-line number of $1.6 trillion for overall spending.

But Johnson said Friday he remained committed to that agreement.

“Our top-line agreement remains,” he said, upsetting hard-liners who thought they had convinced him in a private meeting to reconsider.

Johnson has found himself in a similar position to former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who was ousted after reaching a deal to avoid a government shutdown last year.

The head of the House Freedom Caucus, Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., has said he’s not ready to consider getting rid of Johnson, who has been in his leadership post for only a few months.

But Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., said she recently told Johnson she would make a motion to vacate the chair if he went along with a deal that would allow more money to go to Ukraine in exchange for changes in border policy.

The latest continuing resolution extending government funding into March will need a two-thirds majority to pass the House.

That means Democrats will need to join Republicans in approving the legislation, so that a partial government shutdown is averted this week.

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Mitchell Miller

Mitchell Miller has worked at WTOP since 1996, as a producer, editor, reporter and Senior News Director. After working "behind the scenes," coordinating coverage and reporter coverage for years, Mitchell moved back to his first love -- reporting. He is now WTOP's Capitol Hill reporter.

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