Congress hastens to avoid shutdown as Conservative discontent grows

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By Carina

Congress is currently embroiled in a race against the clock to prevent a partial government shutdown by this Friday. 

This high-stakes situation is made even more complex by Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-La.) struggle to manage rising discontent within his party regarding spending issues. 

House Conservatives resist bipartisan stopgap bill

The urgency of the situation increased following the announcement of a bipartisan agreement to dodge the shutdown, proposing a two-set stopgap bill to fund the government until March.

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In the House, conservative members are voicing strong opposition to this proposal, complicating Johnson’s task of keeping the government operational while addressing internal conflicts. 

Additionally, the House is poised to vote on a resolution to hold Hunter Biden in contempt of Congress, further intensifying the political atmosphere. 

The Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is also under scrutiny, with a series of impeachment hearings scheduled, marking another contentious issue within the GOP.

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Senate begins process to avert shutdown, facing potential House resistance

The Senate is set to initiate the shutdown-aversion process with a procedural vote on the continuing resolution (CR) proposal. 

This move follows a weekend announcement of a two-part CR aimed at preventing a shutdown and maintaining funding for various government departments through early March.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has stressed the need for swift, bipartisan action to avoid a shutdown. 

Despite his call for cooperation, significant resistance is anticipated in the House, particularly from conservatives. 

House Conservatives challenge CR over spending and border security issues

These members have historically opposed CRs for not reducing spending and are now insisting on border security measures in the funding discussions.

House conservatives’ resistance is evident in their public statements. 

The House Freedom Caucus, for instance, has criticized the proposed short-term spending bill on social media for continuing previous funding levels without addressing desired policy changes. 

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) echoed these sentiments, highlighting the dissatisfaction with continuing resolutions.

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Johnson faces challenge: Navigating CR passage with divided support

This opposition could force Johnson to introduce the bill under suspension of the rules, a strategy requiring two-thirds support for passage and likely relying heavily on Democrat votes. 

Such a move could further inflame conservative members, as witnessed in past instances of cooperation with Democrats.

If the stopgap bill is passed by Friday, it would be the third CR since the fiscal year 2024 began. 

Johnson, despite previous resistance to short-term CRs, finds himself supporting the current proposal, a reflection of the ongoing complexities in finalizing the appropriations process.

House prepares for Hunter Biden’s contempt vote 

The House’s planned vote on Hunter Biden’s contempt charges adds another layer to this tumultuous period. 

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The vote’s fate hinges on potential cooperation from Biden’s team. 

His attorney, Abbe Lowell, has indicated a willingness for Biden to testify in a closed-door deposition, a departure from their initial insistence on a public hearing.

Mayorkas impeachment and funding debates: A pivotal week in Congress

As Congress navigates these challenges, the impeachment hearings against Mayorkas continue, with the next hearing titled “Voices for the Victims: The Heartbreaking Reality of the Mayorkas Border Crisis.” 

These hearings are part of a broader Republican effort to scrutinize Mayorkas’s leadership, emphasizing the human toll of his policies.

Congress faces a critical week with high-stakes decisions on government funding, contentious votes, and ongoing impeachment hearings, all under the shadow of internal party conflicts and broader political dynamics.

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