The House passed a stopgap bill on Tuesday to keep the government open, putting Congress on a path to avert a shutdown and setting the stage for a broader funding fight in the new year.
The Senate will next need to approve the measure. President Joe Biden is prepared to sign the bill if it is passed by the Senate, a White House official told CNN. Government funding is currently set to expire at the end of the week on Friday, November 17.
The stopgap bill passed the House on a bipartisan basis with a vote of 336 to 95. More Democrats supported the measure than Republicans – a warning sign for newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson. Two hundred and nine Democrats voted for the bill, while only 127 Republicans voted for it. Ninety-three Republicans and two Democrats opposed the bill.
In the first major test of his leadership, Johnson is pursuing an unusual two-step plan that would set up two new shutdown deadlines in January and February.
The bill would extend funding until January 19 for priorities including military construction, veterans’ affairs, transportation, housing and the Energy Department. The rest of the government – anything not covered by the first step – would be funded until February 2. The proposal does not include additional aid for Israel or Ukraine.
The plan would give lawmakers more time to attempt to negotiate and pass full-year spending bills, though major partisan divisions would make that effort fraught and complicated. Johnson has argued that his plan would prevent Congress from passing a massive spending bill in December – a scenario that has played out many times before when lawmakers have faced a deadline right before the winter holidays.
But the strategy is risky. The short-term funding plan has already resulted in backlash from some conservatives, a dynamic that forced House Republican leaders to turn to Democrats for votes to pass it as the GOP holds only a narrow majority in the chamber.
A number of conservatives oppose the stopgap bill because it would not implement the deep spending cuts they have demanded. Instead, it would extend funding at current levels. As a result, the bill required Democratic support to pass the House.
House Democratic leadership released a statement ahead of the vote saying they would support the stopgap.
“House Democrats have repeatedly articulated that any continuing resolution must be set at the fiscal year 2023 spending level, be devoid of harmful cuts and free of extreme right-wing policy riders. The continuing resolution before the House today meets that criteria and we will support it,” the joint statement from House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries and other top House Democratic leaders said.