Mar 18, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Mike Johnson faces 11th hour GOP pressure on government shutdown

House Speaker Mike Johnson, wearing a dark blue suit jacket, white shirt and green and blue striped tie, standing in front of an Irish flag and a painting.

House Speaker Mike Johnson. Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images.

Dozens of House Republicans are already raising objections to keeping huge swaths of the federal government from shutting down before the legislation has even been released.

Why it matters: It places new pressure on House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) to capitulate to conservative demands as negotiators try to hammer out agreements on outstanding issues.

  • Agencies covered by the bill are set to shut down on Friday if the legislation isn't passed.

Driving the news: In a letter to their GOP colleagues, a group of 43 House Republicans called to reject spending legislation that doesn't include sweeping GOP border legislation and a rollback of diversity and climate policies at the Pentagon.

  • "These policies are intentional and rooted in radical progressive Democrats' desire to fundamentally remake America. A vote to fund this government without policy reforms is a vote for these policies," they wrote.
  • The bill is expected to include funding for the Departments of Homeland Security, State, Defense and Health and Human Services.

Zoom in: The letter is led by Reps. Bob Good (R-Va.), chair of the right-wing Freedom Caucus, and Chip Roy (R-Texas), a prominent member of the group.

  • Most of its signers are Freedom Caucus members, but several are not — including Reps. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), Kat Cammack (R-Fla.), Rich McCormick (R-Ga.), William Timmons (R-S.C.) and Nancy Mace (R-S.C.).

Between the lines: Johnson has been able to shepherd major spending legislation through the House through a process that bypasses party-line procedural votes but requires a bipartisan, two-thirds majority to pass bills.

  • That has effectively allowed him to do an end-run around the right-wing hardliners who spend last year stymying GOP legislation.
  • Johnson's right flank still holds one card — the ability to force a vote on removing him as speaker — but has so far proven reluctant to use it.
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