Congressional leaders strike deal to punt government shutdown deadlines

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Congressional leaders have reached a deal for a short-term federal funding extension until early March, a source familiar told Fox News Digital, assuaging fears of a partial government shutdown at the end of next week.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., will have to bring another continuing resolution (CR) for a vote in their respective chambers this week to avoid a partial shutdown on Jan. 19.

The deal would extend funding for some agencies and departments through March 1, while the remainder would be funded through March 8. 

That would keep intact Speaker Johnson’s ‘laddered’ CR approach that passed Congress in mid-November. 

The two-step proposal funded part of the government until Jan. 19, and the rest until Feb. 2. The first tranche of deadlines in that plan reckoned with historically less controversial appropriations bills concerning military construction and Veterans Affairs; Agriculture; Energy and Water; Transportation and Housing and Urban Development.

The remaining eight appropriations bills, including those dealing with the Justice Department and Homeland Security, were to be worked out by the February deadline. 

The goal of separating the two deadlines is to make it impossible for Congress to pass an all-in-one ‘omnibus’ spending bill, something Republicans across the board have opposed. The House GOP has pledged to return to ‘regular order’ by passing 12 single-subject appropriations bills instead.

It’s not immediately clear if the details remain the same in the new CR, and legislative text is not yet available. The March CR plan was first reported by Punchbowl News.

A short-term government funding patch is almost certain to be opposed by Johnson’s right flank, who have been calling on him to leverage a government shutdown in exchange for extracting conservative border policy wins for the Democrat-run Senate and White House.

House Republicans have started off the year with many of the same divisions and grievances, chiefly over government spending, that the conference saw last year. 

Johnson announced a bipartisan deal with Schumer earlier this month to set the government’s discretionary spending levels at $1.59 trillion for fiscal year 2024. They would also honor a side-agreement for an extra $69 billion struck between ex-Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and President Biden, minus $16 billion in added cuts that Johnson negotiated to offset that. 

It’s invoked the ire of GOP hardliners who have accused Johnson of continuing the McCarthy policies they opposed. 

Conservatives have been pushing Johnson to go back on the Schumer topline deal. But the speaker said as recently as Friday that the deal remained in place – a position backed by much of the rank-and-file in the House GOP.

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