House Speaker Mike Johnson sounded upbeat early Tuesday about securing passage of a stopgap funding measure that would prevent a partial government shutdown.
“I think we’ll pass this,” Johnson, a Louisiana Republican who became his chamber’s leader just three weeks ago, said in an interview on CNBC. He also said he was anticipating “bipartisan agreement” on the measure, which is slated to face a House vote at around 4:20 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday.
The new speaker said he was “not sure yet” on the exact levels of Republican and Democratic support, but he said and his colleagues would “figure out the final numbers.”
Johnson’s remarks come as a shutdown is due to hit this weekend — the government is funded through Friday, and the partial shutdown would begin after midnight Eastern time on Saturday — if U.S. lawmakers can’t pass a funding package.
Analysts have been optimistic so far this week that the Republican-run House and Democratic-controlled Senate will be able to agree on a stopgap funding measure that prevents a shutdown.
See: Analysts see 40% chance of government shutdown this weekend
On Saturday, Johnson unveiled a two-step measure for averting a shutdown. His continuing resolution aims to extend government funding for some agencies and programs until Jan. 19, and for others until Feb. 2.
The House Rules Committee had been expected to take up Johnson’s so-called CR in the late afternoon Monday, but instead, following some opposition to the measure from fellow Republicans, Johnson now looks poised to advance the measure under what’s called “suspension of the rules.” That bypasses the rules panel but requires the support of a two-thirds majority in the narrowly divided chamber, meaning many Democrats will need to support the resolution.
Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy worked with House Democrats to pass a funding bridge on Sept. 30, and his maneuvers angered some hardline Republicans, who then led a drive to oust him. Johnson is making a similar move. He has pitched his approach as necessary to place House Republicans in a strong position, saying it will stop the practice of getting forced by the Senate to act on huge spending bills introduced just ahead of the holidays.
“This has been the habit here for decades now, for a long time, as long as I’ve been in Congress and before, where the Senate jams the House right before the Christmas holiday with a giant bill that’s thousands of pages long,” Johnson told CNBC.
“What we’re doing now is a little bit different than what Kevin was presented with. He was in a jam as well, but by breaking this up and doing the CR the way that we are, it’s a new shift,” he said.
This week’s maneuvering by U.S. lawmakers are unfolding after ratings agency Moody’s cut its outlook for the nation’s credit rating to negative from stable at the end of last week, citing in part doubts about the federal government’s ability to implement effective fiscal policies.
The House Freedom Caucus, a group of hardline Republicans, announced its opposition to Johnson’s measure on Tuesday morning, saying it “contains no spending reductions, no border security, and not a single meaningful win for the American People.”
“While we remain committed to working with Speaker Johnson, we need bold change,” the group added.
When asked about the GOP opposition, Johnson said during a news conference that the House leadership is “not surrendering. We’re fighting, but you have to be wise about choosing the fights. You got to fight fights that you can win.”
“I’m done with short-term CRs. We are. We’re resolved,” he said.
were surging early Tuesday, as traders reacted to an encouraging reading on inflation.