Oct 29, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Rep. Mike Johnson says avoiding shutdown is priority as House speaker

Newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson's (R-La.) "first priority" in leadership is to reach an agreement on government funding, he said Sunday on Fox News' "Sunday Morning Futures."

The big picture: Congress narrowly avoided a government shutdown in late September, days before Rep. Kevin McCarthy's (R-Calif.) ouster as House speaker, extending its appropriations deadline to Nov. 17.

  • "If indeed we come to Nov. 17 and we're unable to finish that because it's detailed work and it takes some time, we'll look at another stopgap measure," Johnson said Sunday.
  • "But I think everyone will be on board with that because they understand we're really doing this work. If we run out of time on the calendar, we may need a little bit more to complete it."

Zoom out: House members need to agree on top line numbers for appropriations bills, which have been a subject of debate, Johnson said.

  • The Senate passed a House bill on Sept. 30 after nearing a shutdown, which keeps government funding at 2023 levels until mid-November.
  • Days later, McCarthy was ousted as House speaker and three weeks followed without a leader in the lower chamber until Johnson's election on Oct. 25.
  • Johnson is the least experienced legislator to be elected House speaker in 140 years.

What's next: If Congress has to pass another stopgap measure, it would do so until Jan. 15, Johnson said.

  • He said he expects the appropriations to be passed as single-subject bills, rather than an omnibus spending bill.
  • "All of our colleagues are at the table right now, even the toughest fiscal conservatives like myself, people know that we gotta get this job done," he said. "And they're ready to do it."

Go deeper: What to know about new House Speaker Mike Johnson

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