Jan 9, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Senate GOP offers House Republicans reality check on spending

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.

Senate Republicans are publicly acknowledging the need for a short-term spending bill to keep the government funded past January and avoid a government shutdown.

Why it matters: House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has pledged not to pass another so-called continuing resolution, putting him on a collision course with his increasingly agitated right flank.

Driving the news: "Obviously we're going to have to pass a CR," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters during a press conference on Tuesday.

  • McConnell added that he has "no idea" how long the measure would keep the government funded, saying that's a decision for Johnson and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

State of play: Johnson and Schumer reached an agreement over the weekend on government spending levels for 2024, setting the stage for Congress to pass annual appropriations bills.

  • As McConnell explained, those bills are unlikely to be written and passed by both chambers of Congress in time for the Jan. 19 funding deadline.
  • "The simplest things take a week in the Senate," the GOP leader said, adding, "Frequently, the House doesn't understand how long it takes to get something through the Senate."

What we're watching: Johnson, who said in November he is "done with short-term CRs," is taking flak from right-wing hardliners in his conference who are upset about the speaker agreeing to the spending levels set by last year's bipartisan debt ceiling deal.

  • Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) notably didn't rule out trying to oust Johnson when asked about that possibility in a CNN interview, saying "that's not the road I prefer ... but [the deal] isn't good."
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