Shutdown Averted But Speaker Put on Notice

March 26, 2024

With hours to spare on Friday, the House passed the second set of appropriation bills to fund the government through September 30. After some partisan wrangling over amendment votes, the Senate passed the bill shortly before 2 AM on Saturday. Biden signed the bill on the same day.

  • Funding technically lapsed at midnight, but Senate passage was imminent, which led the White House to suspend shutdown preparations.
  • But Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-LA) decision to waive the 72-hour waiting period and even the act of putting the bill on the floor angered House Freedom Caucus members and prompted Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene (R-GA) to file a motion to vacate the chair.

Why it matters: Funding the government settles the six-month saga of looming government shutdowns. While the move has caused additional GOP infighting, Republicans saw a government shutdown as being a bigger political liability.

What they’re saying: Johnson has not been publicly concerned with the threats to his leadership, and several Democrats came to his defense on Friday saying they would vote to protect his speakership.

Yes, but: the Republicans’ majority math is getting more challenging.

  • Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) made a surprise announcement that he will resign on April 19. Gallagher had announced last month he would not run for re-election.
  • As Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) stepped down Friday, that will bring the GOP to a majority of 217-213. On any vote, two GOP defections can kill a bill.
  • A special election in deep blue Buffalo will likely fill the vacant NY-26 seat with another Democrat bringing the number to 217-214.
  • The runoff special election to replace former Speaker Kevin McCarthy will take place on May 21, which will add another Republican to the House.

Contact David McCarthy ( with questions.


David McCarthy
Managing Director, Head of Policy
Capitol Hill with "That's All Folks" in the style of Looney Toons
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