GOP to Johnson: The Clock Is Ticking

( – To obtain the House Speaker’s gavel, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) had to agree to a modification in the chamber’s rule allowing a single member to force a vote on vacating that position. That tactical blunder led to his ouster in early October. Three weeks later, the party rallied behind Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA), and he assumed the role. However, he inherited more than McCarthy’s gavel. Johnson also faces the same predicament as his predecessor, as indicated by a fellow GOP lawmaker who recently reminded him that the clock is ticking.

McCarthy’s quick exit was spurred in large part by outraged far-right Republicans who opposed his decision to compromise with the Biden administration and House Democrats on a continuing resolution that extended the government’s funding ahead of a September 30 deadline.

The government could shut down again on November 17 if Johnson fails to unite House Republicans behind a plan to extend the country’s good faith and credit. On November 7, Kentucky Republican Thomas Massie spoke with reporters about the need for Johnson to decide soon on how to keep the government funded.

Massie conceded that Johnson was still in his “honeymoon period” as speaker but said he wasn’t sure how long that might last. “Maybe 30 days,” he said. However, he also noted that the new speaker’s grace period could be considerably shorter with recent events in Washington.

The Kentucky lawmaker also warned that “Every time [a continuing resolution] expires, [Johnson] is putting his head [inside] the lion’s mouth.” Massie suggested that Johnson buy himself some time by presenting a continuing resolution that expires next September.

Although Johnson hasn’t presented a plan to extend government funding, he has considered using a “laddered” continuing resolution. That strategy allows lawmakers to stagger funding deadlines by prioritizing the allocation of funds for agencies with looming deadlines first instead of passing all 12 necessary spending bills simultaneously and giving them the same termination date.

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