Jan 13, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Congress plans to hold off government shutdown until March

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.). Photo: Kent Nishimura/Getty Images.

Congress plans to vote on legislation next week temporarily extending federal funding to March and avoiding a government shutdown on Friday, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: It will give lawmakers time to pass bills to fund the government through September in line with the spending levels House Republicans and Senate Democrats agreed to last weekend.

Driving the news: The stopgap spending measure, known as a continuing resolution (CR), will fund four departments until March 1 and the rest until March 8, according to a House Republican and another source familiar with the matter.

  • The deal will continue the "laddered" approach of the continuing resolution passed in November, which funded the first tranche of agencies until Jan. 19 and the second until Feb. 2.
  • House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) have agreed to overall spending levels for appropriations bills, but that legislation will take time to draft and pass both chambers.
  • The agreement among congressional leaders was first reported by Punchbowl News.

The state of play: The Senate, which typically takes longer to pass legislation than the House, has already taken steps to vote next week on the continuing resolution.

  • Johnson resisted saying publicly this week whether he would hold a vote on a continuing resolution as right-wing hardliners have called for a shutdown in lieu of significant border policy concessions from Democrats.
  • Republicans are expected to have a conference call on Sunday evening to discuss the plan for the week, both sources said.
  • Text of the measure is also expected to be posted online Sunday evening, a Schumer spokesperson said.

What we're hearing: There had been disagreement between Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee and other GOP lawmakers on how long to fund the government, according to the House Republican.

  • "The 'appropriators' wanted more time" in the hopes of appropriating more money for defense, the Republican told Axios, while others "wanted to keep the pressure on [with a] short extension."
  • Conservatives who have expressed firm opposition to a continuing resolution, they added, "don't want to [vote for it] but they'll let us ... kicking and screaming along the way."
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