House Passes Funding Plan with Overwhelming Democrat Support

The House passed a continuing resolution Tuesday to extend spending levels from a lame duck session last December by Democratic House and Senate majorities into 2024.

The final tally was 336-95. A whopping 209 Democrats supported the measure, far more than the 127 Republicans in favor.

The two-tiered continuing resolution (CR), called a laddered CR, extends current spending levels for Agriculture, Energy and Water, Military Construction-VA and Transportation-HUD spending bills through January 19, with the remaining eight bills extended through February 2.

Those spending levels and policies were set by Democrats in December 2022 during the lame duck session, after Republicans won a House majority but before new members officially took office in January.

The bill has the support of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and is expected to pass through the Senate on its way to President Biden’s desk by the Friday midnight deadline.

Schumer Monday said he was“pleased” with Speaker Johnson for choosing not to pursue spending cuts or changes to Biden Administration policies in the spending package, calling the bill “a responsible measure.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks to reporters following a closed-door policy meeting, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, March 7, 2023. A spokesman for McConnell said the senator has been hospitalized after tripping and falling Wednesday, March 8, at a hotel. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

The bill was passed under suspension of House rules, which requires two thirds support for passage. Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) pursued this route because he lacked enough Republican support to advance the legislation through regular order, through which the House must pass a “rule” dictating the terms by which the bill would receive floor consideration.

Passing a rule as well as an underlying bill through regular order only requires a simple majority of those voting. However, House Democrats had indicated they would not bail Johnson out to enable the rule’s passage despite supporting the laddered CR itself.

Conservatives worry that punting the fight gives leverage to moderate Republican Senators like Lindsay Graham (R-SC), an author of the 2013 Gang of Eight amnesty bill who is currently seeking a compromise on the border that would give political cover to Republicans to vote for a White House supplemental request for billions in foreign aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan.

The supplemental’s foreign aid component, which would not be offset and is in addition to prior approved spending, is projected to dwarf border spending and could approach $100 billion.

Yet conservatives have argued that throwing billions more at the Biden administration to carry on its current border policies would further exacerbate the border crisis by enabling it to more quickly process and house even more migrants, serving as a further magnet for migration.

Conservatives have insisted that substantive changes to border policy must be made to garner their support, holding up the House-passed H.R. 2 as the standard and a baseline for negotiations.

Follow Bradley Jaye on Twitter at @BradleyAJaye.x

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