November 16, 2023

Spending Bill Passed

The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a temporary spending bill that would avert a government shutdown, with broad support from lawmakers in both parties… The stopgap spending bill would extend government funding at current levels into 2024, giving lawmakers more time to craft the detailed spending bills that cover everything from the military to scientific research…

“Johnson's bill would extend funding for military construction, veterans benefits, transportation, housing, urban development, agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration and energy and water programs through Jan. 19. Funding for all other federal operations - including defense - would expire on Feb. 2… The bill passed with 209 Democratic and 127 Republican votes, while 93 Republicans and two Democrats voted against it.” Reuters

Many on both sides support the bill:

“It has been 26 years since the branch of government entrusted with the power of the purse has followed ‘regular order’ — that is, managed to pass all of its individual appropriations bills by the start of the new fiscal year. For that matter, it has been four years since the two houses of Congress have agreed upon even a single regular spending bill and sent it to the president’s desk…

“Instead, what has become normal is a chaotic process in which funding for the entire government is thrown together into multi-thousand-page ‘continuing resolutions,’ cobbled together behind closed doors in leadership offices — usually under the deadline of a looming government shutdown and often at Christmastime. Things get inserted into the bill or taken out with no accountability or transparency. What Johnson is trying to do — and it’s an admirable goal — is nudge the appropriations committees of both houses to get back to doing their jobs.”

Karen Tumulty, Washington Post

“From a strictly conservative perspective, this isn’t the bill that I or most of you would have liked to see. But Speaker Johnson made several good points while defending it. With a three-seat majority in one chamber, there’s only so much you can realistically do. He assured his caucus yesterday that they were not surrendering, adding, ‘But you have to choose fights you can win.’…

“One of the many, high-priority goals of conservatives is to rein in spending and pump the brakes on the rising deficit. But that’s clearly not possible with Chuck Schumer in the Senate Majority Leader’s office and Joe Biden’s veto pen dangling over the Oval Office. The way to achieve spending cuts is to take back the majority in both chambers and put a conservative in the White House. Then you can push the agenda forward and let the public judge you by the results you deliver.”

Jazz Shaw, Hot Air

Other opinions below.

See past issues

From the Left

“To almost everyone’s astonishment, Speaker Mike Johnson has passed his first test with flying colors. The House adopted a bipartisan continuing resolution 331-95, keeping the government running for at least the next nine weeks…“Politics, like most human ventures, thrives on trust. Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy had lost it on both sides of the aisle by breaking his word multiple times, standing for nothing but his own Speakership. Trust in Johnson may not last, but it will keep the government going — for now…

“It may have helped that Republicans knew that before the threatened shutdown in October, polling showed that Americans would blame them two-to-one if the government shuttered.”

Dennis Aftergut, The Hill

“In the near term, lawmakers’ actions bode well for ensuring that agencies and government services stay open and functional, and that government staff don’t experience disruptions to their workflow or paychecks. Much like it has done in the past, however, Congress’ decision to embrace a CR will allow it to simply procrastinate on the challenges of negotiating final spending bills — and merely postpone the possibility of a shutdown until 2024…

“There are key differences that will need to be worked out on the full-year bills: conservative Republicans want major cuts, including to foreign aid, while some Republicans and many Democrats want new money for Israel and Ukraine. Democrats generally want to boost environmental and education funding; many in the GOP (as well as some more moderate Democrats) want more money for border security. In many cases, the desires of these groups aren’t just different, they’re oppositional.”

Li Zhou, Vox

From the Right

“What’s the difference between the bipartisan stopgap funding bill that passed the House Tuesday under new Speaker Mike Johnson, and the September equivalent passed under former leader Kevin McCarthy? Answer: Nothing but the self-defeating Republican drama

“Note that the GOP back-benchers aren’t threatening to depose Mr. Johnson for relying on the minority for passage—which was their excuse for ousting Mr. McCarthy and three weeks of leaderless pandemonium… The lack of a rebellion this week from the Republican rump is welcome, and apparently deposing two speakers in a few weeks was too much even for them. But it further exposes the hollow claims the McCarthy Eight made for their October exhibitionism.”

Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) and Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-TX) write, “If a business owner fails to generate profits, they are forced to lay people off or shutter their business. If a family can’t pay their utility bill, their water shuts off. If a student doesn’t finish their schoolwork, they don’t get to enjoy recess… However, Congress plays by different rules…

“Our [proposed bill] would shift the pressure point from shutting down the government to shutting in the politicians — that way, lawmakers will feel the pain of their failure to do the most fundamental job of funding the federal government…

“Our solutions include a quorum call vote seven days a week, preventing the use of federal or campaign funds for travel, and prohibiting either body from moving to any bill other than appropriations until the work is done and the government is funded… We owe our constituents that much.”

Sen. James Lankford & Rep. Jodey Arrington, Washington Examiner

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