US Speaker of the House Mike Johnson holds a press conference with families of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza in the US Capitol in Washington, DC USA, 07 November 2023. EFE/EPA/JIM LO SCALZO

House Speaker presents budget proposal to avoid government shutdown

Washington, 11 November (EFE) – The Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Republican Mike Johnson, presented on Saturday his proposal for a two-phase budget extension to avoid a government shutdown in a week’s time.

The draft released on Saturday proposes a partial budget extension with different expiration dates for different government departments: one on January 19 and the other on February 2, allowing lawmakers to negotiate the 23 budget items one by one.

The measure is expected to come up for a vote in the House on Tuesday, according to US media reports.

“This two-step continuing resolution is a necessary bill to place House Republicans in the best position to fight for conservative victories,” Johnson said in a statement.

The proposal does not include cuts or additional aid to Israel and Ukraine, two issues that could provoke opposition from both Democrats and Republicans.

Lawmakers from the most conservative wing of the Republican Party, whose support has proved essential to passing any measure in Congress given the narrow margin by which the caucus maintains its majority, have already expressed their opposition to approving an extension that does not cut the budgets.

On his account on Platform X, formerly known as Twitter, Republican Congressman Chip Roy has already made it clear that he will vote against Johnson’s proposal.

“My opposition to the clean CR just announced by the Speaker to the HouseGOP cannot be overstated. Funding Pelosi level spending & policies for 75 days – for future “promises,” he wrote.

The White House also criticized the proposal on Saturday, calling it “a recipe for more Republican chaos and more shutdowns – full stop.”

“House Republicans need to stop wasting time on their own political divisions, do their jobs and work in a bipartisan way to prevent a shutdown,” Joe Biden’s administration spokeswoman Karine Jean Pierre added in the statement.

The previous extension, agreed by former House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, provided the government with funding for a period of 45 days before the money runs out again on 17 November.

If no agreement is reached this week, the US government would enter a so-called “shutdown”, which would leave some two million civil servants without pay from next Saturday. EFE