The House of Representatives has approved a continuing resolution that extends spending levels set by the previous Democratic majority into the year 2024. The vote resulted in a 336-95 margin, as a substantial majority of 209 Democrats supported the measure, compared to the 127 Republicans in favor.
This two-tiered continuing resolution, also known as a laddered CR, maintains current spending levels for various sectors such as Agriculture, Energy and Water, Military Construction-VA, and Transportation-HUD until January 19. For the remaining eight bills, the extension will last until February 2. These spending levels and policies were established during the December 2022 lame duck session when Democrats were in control, before Republicans officially assumed their positions in January.
The Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) both support the bill, which is expected to pass through the Senate and be signed by President Biden by the midnight deadline on Friday. Schumer expressed his satisfaction with Speaker Johnson’s decision not to pursue spending cuts or policy changes, describing the bill as a “responsible measure.”
Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) used the suspension of House rules to pass the bill because he lacked sufficient Republican support to proceed through regular order. Regular order requires the House to pass a “rule” that outlines the terms for considering the bill on the floor. Although House Democrats supported the laddered CR, they made it clear that they would not assist Johnson in passing the rule.
Conservatives are concerned that postponing the fight over spending gives leverage to moderate Republican Senators like Lindsay Graham (R-SC). They fear that Graham’s efforts to find a compromise on border issues could allow Republicans to vote in favor of a White House request for billions in foreign aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. The projected foreign aid component, which would be in addition to prior approved spending and not offset, could reach up to $100 billion. Critics argue that giving more money to the Biden administration for its current border policies would only worsen the border crisis by enabling faster processing and housing of more migrants, thereby attracting more migration.
Conservatives have consequently insisted on substantial changes to border policy to gain their support. They point to the House-passed H.R. 2 as the benchmark and starting point for negotiations.