Congress Dodges Shutdown for Now, Despite Republicans’ Best Efforts

After months of stalled negotiations and short-term funding resolutions, the House of Representatives finally passed a measure on Thursday to keep the federal government funded. The effort received minimal support from Republicans—nearly half of whom, 106 members, actually voted against the initiative.

It passed in a 314–108 vote with near-unanimous support from Democrats, some 207 of whom voted for the measure, compared to just 107 Republicans. The bill is now on its way to President Joe Biden’s desk.

The short-term spending bill was voted on by the House just two hours after the Senate passed it, narrowly bucking a looming two-part shutdown that was set to begin on Friday. The continuing resolution has granted Congress an extra six weeks to coordinate a full spending measure before its next two-part shutdown deadline, slated for March 1 and March 8, when funding for agencies ranging from the Department of Defense to the Food and Drug Administration will finally run dry.

The passage of the stopgap resolution is a win for House Speaker Mike Johnson, who pulled off a bipartisan deal that his predecessor, former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, failed to. Facing a momentous countdown on the clock, Johnson cut a deal with other congressional leaders in order to avert the shutdown, despite outsize pressure against it stemming from the House Freedom Caucus.

Johnson has struggled in recent weeks to keep hold of his newfound power since he won the House’s highest seat in a shocking election in October, enduring calls by far-right hard-liners in the House to kick him out just three months into his tenure.

On Wednesday, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene said she would personally force a vote to oust Johnson if he cut a deal to fund Ukraine, regardless of bipartisan negotiating.

“We can’t fund Ukraine,” she told NBC News, calling it “an absolute no-go—that would be a reason to vacate.”

But Johnson appeared nonplussed by the threat, pointing out that he had “a job to do.”

“We all have to do our jobs,” Johnson said on CNN’s The Source. “Marjorie Taylor Greene is very upset about the lack of oversight over the funding and over the lack of an articulation of a plan, as am I.”

“I’ve talked with her about it personally at great length, and she’s made her position very clear,” he continued. “We have to do our job. We have to continue to ensure that we’re covering all these bases, and we’ll see how this all shakes out. I’m not worried about that. I got a job to do here. And we have to make sure we get the answers that we demanded.”

This story has been updated.