Late yesterday the House passed a bill to keep the government open until January. All but two Democrats voted for it. On the other side, it was a mixed reception with 127 Republicans voting "aye" and 93 voting "nay." Today all 336 members who voted for the bill will spend the day patting themselves on the head for a job well done. Imagine that you got a credit card bill at the end of October that you couldn't pay. You call up the credit card company and beg for mercy, asking if you could pay it in January and they grudgingly agree. This doesn't mean you are a financial wizard—unless you are a member of the House. Remember, no progress has been made at all on the actual bills; all that has happened is that the possible government shutdown has been pushed into next year.
The Freedom Caucusers did get one thing they wanted: The bill has no funding for Ukraine or Taiwan. It also has no funding for Israel or border security, which they do want, so it wasn't a big victory.
The bill funds veterans programs, military construction, agriculture, transportation, and HUD until Jan. 19. These are the least controversial departments, although Republicans would love to slash food stamps. The other departments are tougher, so they get extra time, until Feb. 2.
House conservatives largely voted against the bill. They want big cuts in government spending and they want them now. They don't want to give Speaker Mike Johnson time to negotiate deals with the Democrats that leave them out in the cold. On the other hand, Johnson is super proud of his achievement of kicking the can down the road. In a memo to his caucus, he said that the plan will "finally change the long-established, awful dynamics of government funding." Of course it won't. It just changes the date for the battle. The Freedom Caucus still wants to gut the budget and the Democratic Senate will never accept that. Fighting the fight in February instead of December, as usual, just means that nobody will be in a jovial holiday mood.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), the ranking member of the Appropriations Committee, said: "I don't understand this Jan. 19, and this February 2. That, in my view, doubles the opportunity for a shutdown. There's no allocation per subcommittee, which is the way we function."
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called the two-deadline approach "goofy," but said the Senate will pass it on time to avert a shutdown now. Joe Biden has said he will sign it. Problem solved—for a couple of months. Then it will come roaring back and bring its friends. (V)