Mar 22, 2024 - Politics & Policy

House passes $1.2 trillion bill to delay government shutdown

House Speaker Mike Johnson, wearing a dark gray suit and light blue shirt, clapping in front of microphones.

House Speaker Mike Johnson. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.

The House on Friday overcame bipartisan objections and passed a $1.2 trillion spending bill to keep most of the federal government funded just hours before a shutdown deadline — but Speaker Mike Johnson's job is being threatened as a result.

Why it matters: The House's approval means the government is likely to avoid a shutdown through the end of September, giving lawmakers breathing room as the 2024 campaign season heats up.

  • The Senate could take up the bill as early as Friday, but a weekend vote — after the government's shutdown deadline — also is possible because of the need to reach an agreement with conservatives over amendments to the bill.
  • A brief weekend shutdown would be of little consequence, officials have said.

Driving the news: The bill passed 286-134, with less than half the chamber's Republican majority voting yes.

  • It was passed under a process that required it to be approved with a two-thirds majority but allowed Republicans to bypass party-line votes that conservatives now routinely tank.
  • Some conservatives who ousted former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) last fall for agreeing to a budget compromise when they wanted more cuts expressed dismay that Johnson had agreed to this plan, which would keep government spending roughly steady at 2023 levels.
  • Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) introduced a motion to vacate against Johnson (R-La.), threatening a future vote to oust him.
  • In a blow to Johnson, just 101 Republicans — less than half the conference — voted for the bill along with 185 Democrats.

Zoom in: There was some concern in the lead-up to the vote that the bill would fall short of the support it needed to pass, as conservatives were joined by Democratic progressives in expressing opposition.

  • Several GOP leadership allies, including Reps. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), an Appropriations subcommittee chair, and Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.) voted "no" on the bill.
  • Also voting no were 22 progressive Democrats who objected to a prohibition on funding to the U.N.'s Palestinian refugee agency.
  • "Today's minibus would ban funding for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) until next year, preventing millions of Palestinian civilians from getting the humanitarian aid they desperately need as (Israeli Prime Minister Bejamin) Netanyahu's war on the people of Gaza continues," said Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.)

Editor's note: This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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