House Republicans are pursuing a two-step plan to fund the government, three sources familiar with the matter told CNN, with Congress barreling toward it. Another spending deadline is next Friday.
Newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson announced the plan on a GOP conference call with members Saturday afternoon and argued that “I’m not the one who created the mess we’re in,” according to a source on the call.
While Johnson embraced the two-step approach of his congressional right wing, he did not fully obey their wishes. The package does not include the deep spending cuts pushed by his right wing, but instead extends the fund at its current level.
“This two-step continuing resolution is the bill needed to put House Republicans in a better position to fight for conservative victories,” Johnson said in a statement Saturday.
The first bill extends funding through Jan. 19 and includes military construction, veterans affairs, transportation and housing, and the energy department. The second part of the bill, which extends funding until February 2, will cover funding for other parts of the government.
Neither bill included additional aid for Israel or Ukraine.
The two-step approach was widely touted by Republican hardliners but rejected by many senators as a cumbersome solution that would be difficult to implement and enforce. However, since funding for the agencies will remain at current levels, it may be difficult for Democrats to rule out.
A top Senate Democratic aide expressed their openness to Johnson’s funding plan, telling CNN, “It’s a good thing the speaker didn’t add unnecessary cuts and kept defense funding in the second group of programs.”
However, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre called Johnson’s plan “a recipe for more Republican chaos and more shutdowns — full stop.”
“House Republicans need to stop wasting time on their own political divisions, do their jobs, and work in a bipartisan way to prevent a shutdown,” Jean-Pierre said in a statement.
Ahead of Saturday’s conference call, Republicans weighed several options, including a straightforward stopgap bill with some added sweeteners and the more complicated two-step approach Johnson is pitching.
The conference is divided on which option to pursue, with owners favoring a clean break and members of the Freedom Caucus pitching a staggered approach.
However, a GOP representative who is part of the far-right House Freedom Caucus. Chip Roy said at X that he opposes Johnson’s plan because it doesn’t include the deep spending cuts the right wants.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries previously blasted the prospect of a two-step continuing resolution as a non-starter, calling it a “right-wing joyride” that would crash and burn the economy.
If lawmakers fail to pass a spending plan by next Friday, most government operations will be shut down until Congress acts. However, essential government works will continue.
Each federal agency comes up with a contingency plan that outlines which of its operations will continue during the shutdown, which will cease, as well as how many of its employees will continue to work and how many will be furloughed until the shutdown is over.
At the national level, government shutdowns can have long-term economic consequences, stifling growth and promoting uncertainty, especially if they drag on. Some of these are expenses Adds Raising the unemployment rate, reducing GDP growth and raising the cost of borrowing.
This story has been updated with additional information.
CNN’s Shania Shelton contributed to this report.