Biden Signs Stopgap: President Joe Biden signed a stopgap spending bill into law on Thursday, successfully preventing an imminent government shutdown and laying the groundwork for a contentious funding battle in the coming year.
This unconventional two-step plan, a notable win for House Speaker Mike Johnson, establishes new shutdown deadlines in January and February. However, it falls short of a comprehensive year-long spending bill, merely extending funding until January 19 for critical areas such as military construction, veterans’ affairs, transportation, housing, and the Energy Department. The remaining government sectors, not covered in this initial step, receive funding until February 2.
A major concession from Democrats is the exclusion of additional military assistance for Ukraine, a topic that has resurfaced after being omitted from the September stopgap bill. Notably, the plan also lacks military support for Israel.
Initially proposed by conservatives, the two-step approach faced opposition from within their ranks due to the absence of substantial spending cuts. Instead, it continues funding at existing levels, a compromise that secured Democratic support.
The bill passed the House with a vote of 336 to 95 on Tuesday, with more Democrats than Republicans in favor. The Senate followed suit with an 87 to 11 vote on Wednesday.
While this plan allows Congress to sidestep the need for a comprehensive spending bill before the winter holidays, House Speaker Mike Johnson faces a leadership challenge, given the lack of support from some members of his own party. Despite discontent, many House Republicans argue that Johnson, a recently elected speaker, inherited challenges not of his own making, signaling a potential difference in fate from his predecessor, Rep. Kevin McCarthy. McCarthy was ousted after presenting the previous stopgap bill in September, but Johnson might be spared a similar fate due to the circumstances of his tenure.