Home Will new House Speaker survive his push to keep federal government open?
Politics, US & World

Will new House Speaker survive his push to keep federal government open?

Chris Graham
mike johnson
(© lev radin – Shutterstock)

The new House Speaker, Mike Johnson, did Tuesday what his predecessor, Kevin McCarthy, did last month – getting the House to pass a continuing resolution to avoid a federal government shutdown.

Johnson may be on his way to joining McCarthy in the ranks of former House Speakers.

“This is an important innovation. We have broken the fever. We are not going to have a massive omnibus spending bill right before Christmas. This is a gift to the American people,” Johnson told reporters ahead of the 336-95 vote that sends a continuing resolution to keep the government running into early next year to the U.S. Senate.

The resolution extends funding at current spending levels for military and veterans programs, agriculture and food agencies, and the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development on Jan. 19.

Those departments represent 20 percent of the federal government. Funding for the other 80 percent – the State, Defense, Commerce, Labor, and Health and Human Services departments, among others – would expire on Feb. 2.

The idea with the laddered deadlines is to give the House and Senate time to negotiate full-year spending bills.

They could, of course, just do their jobs, but as we all know, there are some – looking at you, Ben Cline, Bob Good, who were among those who voted against the CR – who are just there for show.

“Since the first day of the 118th Congress, House Republicans manufactured crisis after crisis. They brought our nation to the brink of a devastating default, nearly shut down the government, ousted the Speaker and left the House unable to operate for three weeks, and pushed their extreme partisan agenda and poison pill policies,” Fourth District Democrat Jennifer McClellan said in a statement after the vote.

The Virginia delegation of 11 had four ‘no’ votes – Cline, Good, Morgan Griffith and Rob Wittman.

Virginia’s six House Democrats and a lone Republican, Jen Kiggans, a freshman who narrowly defeated Democrat Elaine Luria in the 2022 midterms, voted ‘yes.’

I haven’t seen anything from the ‘no’ voters on their reasoning. The closest we got to that was a retweet from Good of a statement from the House Freedom Caucus that featured an admonition to Republicans against “negotiating against ourselves over fears of what the Senate may do with the promise ‘roll over today, and we’ll fight tomorrow.’”

“While we remain committed to working with Speaker Johnson, we need bold change,” that Freedom Caucus statement ended.

The last “bold change” from that group deposed McCarthy as House Speaker and stopped the House dead for three weeks while Republicans tried to figure out how to stop stepping on their own dicks.

“Virginians and Americans across our country are tired of Congress’s inability to fulfill our fundamental responsibilities,” Seventh District Democrat Abigail Spanberger said. “Today, I cast my vote to protect our local economy and the livelihoods of so many Virginians. But going forward, the U.S. House Republican majority must work in a bipartisan way to keep our government open, strengthen our economy, and put an end to this Groundhog Day cycle of kicking the can down the road.”

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].