US News: Newly elected speaker Mike Johnson might have acquired the seat and the gavel, however, disciplining the conservative Republican hardliners seems like the herculean tasks his predecessor faced. 

The economy of United States faces yet another threat of shutdown, amid the US funding Ukraine and Israel in their war with Russia and Hamas respectively. Time races down to yet another federal funding cut-off.

Mike Johnson may soon find himself in the position where he needs Democratic votes to keep the government open. The ongoing partisan gridlock was accentuated by fractures within the narrow 221-212 House Republican majority.

US funding deadline is on 17 November, Friday. This means Washington again faces a wild ride of shutdown brinkmanship. Mike Johnson faces first big legislative battle this week as his tries to marshal his fractious Republican majority into supporting an unconventional plan. 

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Johnson on Saturday unveiled a complex two-tiered plan to temporarily fund the government, with a pair of deadlines in January and February for the passage of permanent department budgets, reports CNN.

Some House Republican hardliners were already pushing back at Johnson’s proposal, while some congressional Democrats indicated they were open to Johnson’s plan, which would need to pass the Democratic-majority Senate and be signed into law by President Joe Biden by midnight on Friday.

However, with the history of GOP failing to agree or pass a bill, this too seems like a distant dream. Given the House’s record, Johnson may simply be setting the country up for two government shutdowns rather than one.

While the two-step approach appears to be a concession to the far right — which abhors what it calls “clean” continuing resolutions, or CRs, that keep government open temporarily at current spending levels — Johnson’s approach may already have backfired since it lacks the sweeping cuts that hard-right Republicans demanded even though they have no chance of getting them past a Democratic-run Senate and White House, says CNN. 

Johnson’s task is so difficult because the tiny GOP majority means he can lose only a handful of members on any bill and still pass it with only Republican votes – hence the need to get help from Democrats on some issues and the consequent risk of further alienating far-right members of his conference.

(With agency inputs)

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Updated: 13 Nov 2023, 09:02 PM IST

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