House Speaker Mike Johnson's plan to avert shutdown draws criticism from conservatives

WASHINGTON - House Speaker Mike Johnson said Saturday he will seek to avoid a government shutdown next weekend with a "two-step" temporary spending plan – but his proposal drew immediate criticism from some fellow conservatives and the White House.

In a written statement, Johnson said his plan "will stop the absurd holiday-season omnibus tradition of massive, loaded-up spending bills introduced right before the Christmas recess."

The current spending plan expires at midnight Friday, and certain government operations will halt if House Republicans cannot agree on a plan that also gets approval from President Joe Biden and the Democratic Senate.

Mike Johnson
Mike Johnson

Johnson's plan is a "laddered CR," a novel type of continuing resolution, the tool typically used by Congress to extend funding levels to keep the government running in lieu of an agreement on next year's federal budget. His two-step plan would extend operations until Jan. 19 for some agencies and until Feb. 2 for others while Congress negotiates long-term spending.

Some Republicans began objecting to Johnson's plan shortly after his announcement, saying it leaves out too much.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., used the X social media site, formerly Twitter, to list a number of objectionable items: "NO MONEY TO UKRAINE! CLOSE THE BORDER! STOP THE WEAPONIZED GOVERNMENT! IMPEACH BIDEN, MAYORKAS, WRAY, GARLAND, AND GRAVES!"

None of those items is acceptable to Biden or the Senate.

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, another staunch conservative, said on X that his opposition to a "clean" continuing resolution "cannot be overstated," and he described it as "funding Pelosi level spending & policies for 75 days - for future 'promises.'"

House Republicans who control the majority have disagreed about how to move forward, with some arguing for major spending cuts that would never win sign-offs from Biden and the Senate.

The White House also dumped on Johnson's plan, saying it all but invites a shutdown.

Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, "This proposal is just a recipe for more Republican chaos and more shutdowns – full stop."

She accused House Republicans of "wasting precious time with an unserious proposal that has been panned by members of both parties."

It is not known whether enough House Republicans will back Johnson's two-step plan while they negotiate long-term spending plans.

Johnson issued his statement after a House Republican conference call.

The plan puts Republicans "in the best position to fight for fiscal responsibility, oversight over Ukraine aid and meaningful policy changes at our southern border," Johnson said.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: GOP Speaker Mike Johnson's shutdown plan attacked by conservatives