Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Monday said he is “pleased” with Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-La.) plan to avoid a government shutdown.
Schumer noted that Johnson’s “laddered” stopgap spending bill — which funds four bills through Jan. 19 and the remaining eight through Feb. 2 — is “far from perfect,” but indicated the “clean” measure provides a path to funding the government for the next two months.
“For now, I am pleased that Speaker Johnson seems to be moving in our direction by advancing a CR that doesn’t include the highly partisan cuts that Democrats have warned against,” the Democratic leader said on the floor.
“The Speaker’s proposal is far from perfect, but the most important thing is that it refrains from making steep cuts,” Schumer continued, adding that it is important that the deadline to fund defense items would come in February.
Schumer noted that Johnson will need support from across the aisle in order to advance the stopgap plan, and added that the avenue to do that is avoiding “poison pill” riders and deep cuts.
“The next few days will tell all in the House and I hope the Speaker does not buckle to the loud voices on his hard right flank,” Schumer said. “I hope that Speaker Johnson realizes that he will need support from Democrats in both chamber if he wants to avoid causing a shutdown.”
The messaging from Schumer is vastly different from what the White House said over the weekend, having called it an “extreme.”
Senate Democrats and some Republicans had pushed for funding to be extended until shortly before Christmas in order to set up a year-end push to fund fiscal 2024 and attach a $105 billion supplemental that would provide aid for Israel, Ukraine, the border and other priorities.
However, Republicans have started to throw in their lot with the current plan. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday labeled Johnson’s bill a “responsible measure that will keep the lights on” and added that he will be encouraging his members to back it.
“Shutting down does nothing — nothing — to advance that work,” McConnell said, referring to passing funding bills. “Regular order requires that Congress provides itself the time for careful consideration and thorough amendment. I’m glad that Speaker Johnson has produced a continuing resolution that would do exactly that.”
House Democrats on Monday also signaled an openness to the plan.
In a letter to his colleagues, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) didn’t rule out voting for the measure, saying Democrats “are carefully evaluating the proposal set forth by Republican leadership and discussing it with Members.”
Updated at 4:53 p.m.