Capitol Hill Happenings: Shutdown Averted but Tensions Are High

November 20, 2023

On November 17, President Biden signed government funding proposal that extends funding for some agencies to January 19 and the rest of the government to February 2, 2024.

  • The “ladder” or “step-stool” deal was crafted by Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) as a way to buy time for the House to continue to work on appropriations bills.
  • The continuing resolution was “clean” without any policy changes or cuts, to the disappointment of some Republicans.

While averting a shutdown was a major achievement, it was overshadowed some by bouts of drama last week.

  • Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy was accused of elbowing Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) intentionally while walking past him in the hallway. Rep. Burchett was one of the eight Republicans who voted to oust the speaker in September. Both sides dispute the other’s telling of the altercation.
  • Senator Markwayne Mullin challenged Teamsters president Sean O’Brien to a fight during a Senate hearing.
  • Oversight Chairman James Comer (R-MS) and Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) got very heated in a hearing regarding the Biden family’s finances. This followed an assertion by Rep. Moskowitz that drew a parallel between Chairman Comer’s finances and that of President Biden’s.

Why it matters: The House has been in session for 10 weeks in a row, (extremely unusual) and the animosity between lawmakers is showing. Congress will return after the Thanksgiving break.

Meanwhile, the House Ethics Committee released a scathing report this week accusing Rep. George Santos (R-NY) of multiple campaign finance violations.

  • Santos announced he won’t run again in 2024, but the House has teed up a vote to expel him post-Thanksgiving.
  • Santos could be the sixth member to ever be expelled from the House, though 77 Republicans would have to join all Democrats to oust him.

Contact David McCarthy ( or James Montfort ( with questions.


David McCarthy
Managing Director, Head of Policy
James Montford
Manager, Government Relations

Illustration of the U.S. Capitol

It's been a bruising week on Capitol Hill as lawmakers break for Thanksgiving

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