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Tricksy House Speaker (?) Mike Johnson (??) Might Avoid Government Shutdown If His Own Caucus Lets Him
We'll believe it when we see it.
House Speaker Mike Johnson is using some procedural trickery to do an end run around the most far-right opponents of avoiding a government shutdown, the Washington Post reports (gift link). If a temporary funding bill isn’t passed in time, the government will shut down at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, with all the attendant economic chaos, including leaving federal employees unpaid and contractors out of a job altogether.
WaPo explains how the temporary funding bill, aka a “continuing resolution” (CR), might get a vote right away without first getting caught up in House Republican clusterfuckery:
Hard-right Republicans were planning to sink a critical procedural hurdle, known as a rule vote, that would have blocked passage of the bill because they were angry that Johnson rejected their request to attach spending cuts, border security provisions or funding for Israel to the proposal. Rather than face an embarrassing defeat — Republicans could lose only three votes if all Democrats voted against the proposal — GOP leaders decided late Monday to instead work to pass the package by suspending the House rules. Using the procedural maneuver, however, requires two-thirds support from the House, meaning Republicans will need help from Democrats to pass the legislation.
Once passed by the House, it is expected to clear the Senate, where both Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) endorsed the two-tiered plan Monday.
For the first time ever, instead of continuing all federal funding at current rates for a set time before we face another shutdown, Johnson’s CR would fund part of the government — the military and veterans services, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Agriculture Departments, which includes federal food programs — only through January 19, while the rest of the government would be paid for through February 2, giving the House two separate chances to fuck over some or all of government. For some reason, that was something rightwing Republicans wanted, though they also wanted steep spending cuts to everything for which they didn’t want increases.
Congressional Democrats and the White House initially opposed the two-tiered plan because see above, “two separate chances to fuck over some or all of government,” but they sighed, rolled their eyes, and said “fine, whatever” because the CR does at least maintain current funding levels, and because Johnson agreed to suspend the rules and get the bill to a vote faster.
Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) had pushed Johnson to adopt the “laddered CR” approach, but with big spending cuts. He told the Post he was very sad that Johnson’s plan hardly fucks up anything, because where’s the fun in that?
“My hope was that he was going to listen to everybody and put something out that was a bit of a bitter pill to swallow, but probably something achievable, to go force pressure on the Senate Democrats. […] I think the Democrat leaders are better playing this game than we are.”
Could be that Democrats don’t think governing is a game, but a responsibility, but yes, it is all very sad. Don’t worry, Chip! We bet you can find other ways to wreck stuff!
Other rightwing members of the House Freedom Cockups gave the Post nice spitty quotes about how Johnson’s “honeymoon” is now over and boy is he gonna regret what he did (keeping the government running, maybe, if this passes).
“It will be very frustrating and really flies in the face of all that we’ve been fighting for,” said Rep. Andrew Ogles (R-Tenn.), a member of the Freedom Caucus. “I think there’s a real chance that votes going forward could get really contentious, even more so than they are now.”
Asked how the Freedom Caucus would respond if GOP leaders decided to pass the funding bill with the help of Democrats on Tuesday, the group’s chairman Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) said, “It could be rage.”
Rage, rage against the government continuing to operate, and therefore the rightwing clowns will once again block even the stupid bills they want, to teach Johnson a lesson: Not simply that nothing gets done without the far Right’s permission, but rather that the entire agenda must be Nothing Gets Done.
Also, there is some gnashing of ogre teeth over how suspending the House rules — a very common thing when emergency legislation is needed, even if Republicans created the emergency — violates “regular order,” which Republicans made a promise to never ever do, pinkie swear, unless they wanna, and the Freedom Coughlins don’t wanna a whole lot because they fantasize that a shutdown will force Joe Biden and Senate Dems to give them everything they want, including a magical budget unicorn that slashes spending only for bad people, while increasing military and border spending and subsidies for fossil fuels. Also tax cuts that will pay for everything.
However, the Post reports, the farthest-right Republicans haven’t yet threatened to remove Johnson if he passes his CR with Democratic votes, because they don’t quite hate him as much as they did Kevin McCarthy, whom they hated from the start. They might wait until after the holidays to exact their vengeance, shitcan Johnson, and shut down the government at the start of an election year, so they can really make the case to Americans that they all should be in power forever.
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