The hitchhiker’s guide to where we stand with a potential government shutdown

It is becoming increasingly obvious to lawmakers that the only way to avert a partial government shutdown at the end of next week is to do a stopgap spending bill known as a CR – short for continuing resolution. Such a bill simply renews all spending at current levels. There simply isn’t enough time to advance everything by the deadline at the end of next week. SENATE NOT EXPECTED TO RELEASE TEXT ON BORDER SECURITY PACKAGE THIS WEEK Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says a CR is necessary to avoid a shutdown. That will intensify pressure on House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La. Johnson has said he will not do CRs. He wants to do bills individually. House Minority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., suggested that a March deadline would give Congress time to process spending bills at the bipartisan topline level agreed to over the weekend. Fox News Digital is told that a growing number of House Republicans are starting to embrace the concept of a government shutdown in order to get a border deal. It’s good politics for some Republicans back home – even if the issues aren’t directly related. “A shutdown gets us nowhere,” said one senior House GOP leadership source to Fox. “Expectations are too high.” Some Republicans are starting to double down on “HR 2” – the strict border policy bill the House approved last spring. But one knowledgeable source told Fox they doubted the House could even pass HR 2 now – considering the GOP’s two-seat, operational majority. THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO WHY THE BIPARTISAN SPENDING AGREEMENT DOESN’T NECESSARILY AVERT GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN If Johnson switches his position on a CR to avoid a shutdown, he could get eaten alive from the right. “The right is going to eat him no matter what,” said one veteran House Republican. Republicans who like the bipartisan, bicameral spending accord say the plan addresses “runaway spending.” Another source said it was time to act – even if it entails a CR to buy time. CRUNCH TIME: CONGRESS KICKS OFF 2024 STARING DOWN POTENTIAL SHUTDOWN “We could fight about appropriations bills for the next six months,” said one House Republican who asked not to be named, adding that their GOP colleagues advocating a shutdown were “politically immature.” Fox is told that lawmakers may need to accept what one source characterized as “two minibusses” where spending bills are glommed together. But that is also anathema to many Republicans. A shutdown on Jan. 19 likely means that portions of the federal government remain shuttered until at least Feb. 2, the second deadline for the remainder of the spending bills. A shutdown also imperils GOP efforts to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. It could also derail chances by bipartisan negotiators to secure a bona fide border security accord. The question becomes whether some Republicans are willing to accept minimal spending reductions agreed to by Johnson – or shut down the government over the border, “purity” (keeping the spending bills separate), blow up what could be a potential agreement on border security, or sidetrack their own effort to impeach Mayorkas.
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