Tuesday will likely see an unusual congressional step for something as consequential as funding the government.
Speaker Mike Johnson’s “two-step” stopgap spending measure to keep the government open could hit the floor under suspension of the rules procedure as early as 10:30 a.m. — an expedited process requiring two-thirds support for passage.
Conservatives, led by some House Freedom Caucus members, have rebelled against the short-term funding patch already, so Democrats will need to provide the votes to get this over the finish line — if it can get there. Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries said Monday night he’s been in “close communication” with Johnson on funding but didn’t tip his hand on whether Democrats would go along with the suspension strategy.
Both parties huddle Tuesday morning for their weekly conference meetings, so there should be a much better sense of the bill’s fate afterwards.
“While the Senate certainly has a worse track record than the House — I think we can all agree that the American people deserve better,” Rules Chair Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said Monday. “Extending the previous fiscal year’s funding is never an ideal way to govern, but the alternative is even worse. We owe it to our constituents to keep the government open.”
An HFC huddle: Johnson met on Monday night with the House Freedom Caucus, which is home to many — though not all — of the spending bill’s loudest critics.
And while Johnson isn’t likely to get stripped of the speaker’s gavel over his government funding strategy, the meeting didn’t appear to win over any of the holdouts, who warned that the party is giving up a leverage point to fight for spending cuts or other policy changes.
Asked what the group’s reaction would be in response to Johnson leaning on Democrats to pass the bill, Freedom Caucus Chair Scott Perry (R-Pa.) predicted it “might be rage.”
Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) added that it would “be a very bad idea” and argued that there were no GOP wins in the bill that he could sell back home.
“If we’re going to leave Israel isolated and move this forward as it is, you can’t add the farm bill and you certainly need to still put something on there that would make it worth eating policies that we don’t want to eat,” Roy said.
What about the Senate? Look for the focus Tuesday to be on the fate of Tommy Tuberville’s (R-Ala.) ongoing blockade of military promotions, with the Rules Committee slated to mark up a resolution that would temporarily allow hundreds of promotions to be considered together.
Senate Rules Chair Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) spoke on the need for the resolution Monday: “You know what sets a bad precedent? When one guy, against the better wishes of nearly everyone in his party, has decided to hold up the entire military chain of command.”
Tuberville told reporters on Monday night his position was unchanged but that “we’ll talk about at lunch as a [Republican] group.” The Rules Committee is due to meet at 3 p.m.
Sarah Ferris and Nicholas Wu contributed.