House Republicans are facing division over whether to support a short-term government funding extension as Congress approaches the first of two shutdown deadlines next week. Representative Steve Womack, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, emphasized the need for action by January 18th, rather than the January 19th deadline suggested by Senator John Thune. Womack also expressed agreement with Thune’s proposal for a March deadline for a continuing resolution (CR). On the other hand, Representative Brian Mast argues for using a government shutdown as leverage to advance GOP policy goals, stating that it is a necessary risk for the security of the nation.
Tensions have already erupted in the House of Representatives, with a group of 12 conservatives staging a protest vote that disrupted proceedings and raised concerns about the possibility of reaching a deal by the upcoming deadline. The current funding deal, negotiated by House Speaker Mike Johnson and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, splits the deadline for reaching a fiscal year 2024 spending deal. Some agencies are funded until January 19th, while others have until February 2nd. However, there is an additional timing element to consider: a yearlong CR would trigger a 1% government funding cut in April, a prospect preferred by hard-line Republicans but opposed by Democrats.
Some House Republicans, like Representative French Hill, argue that a short-term CR would be preferable to a government shutdown. Hill emphasizes that a shutdown does not benefit Republicans, the country, or taxpayers. Conversely, Republican Study Committee Chair Kevin Hern suggests that a short shutdown could facilitate reaching a deal on policies and funding. Senate leaders have already taken steps toward avoiding a shutdown by releasing a bipartisan agreement on government funding as the deadlines approach.