Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said Sunday that House Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-La.) “laddered” continuing resolution (CR) “looks gimmicky” while noting he is open to what the House is discussing.
Johnson released the two-step government funding stopgap bill Saturday in an effort to avert a government shutdown ahead of Friday’s funding deadline. The CR would have some funding run out on Jan.19 and the rest expire Feb. 2, with the intention of avoiding negotiation on a whole-of-government omnibus funding bill and encouraging the House and Senate to negotiate on the 12 regular funding bills.
“Listen, we cannot have a government shutdown this weekend,” Murphy said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “Certainly not while we are facing these existential crises for our friends in Israel and Ukraine. I don’t like this laddered CR approach. It looks gimmicky to me. But I’m open to what the House is talking about.”
Murphy argued the priority is keeping the government open and stressed the importance of “reasonable people in the Senate” to ensure “we are not making the perfect enemy of the good.”
“I don’t like what the House is talking about, but I’m willing to listen,” Murphy said.
Asked what is needed to get him to say “yes” to this piece of legislation, the senator replied, “Well, we are going to proceed in the Senate on a clean CR without gimmicks, without ladders.”
“It does worry me that the House process requires you to come back and deal with half the budget on one date and half the budget on another date,” Murphy said. “That sounds to me a little bit of a recipe for failure.”
Murphy said he would “much rather” pursue the Senate’s plan to “pass a CR that keeps the entire government open to the same date.”
The Connecticut Democrat further chided the House, calling the lower chamber a “political dumpster fire.”
“Well, listen, I don’t think anybody can predict what happens in the House of Representatives today,” Murphy said. “That place is a political dumpster fire right now. And until we get reasonable, thoughtful leadership that prioritizes bipartisan cooperation in the House, every single day is going to be a bit of a nightmare for the American people.”
Under Johnson’s proposal, the Jan. 19 date would be the deadline for government programs and agencies covered under regular appropriations bills related to agriculture, rural development and the Food and Drug Administration, along with energy and water development, military construction and Veterans Affairs and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development.
Funding for the other agencies and programs would run out Feb. 2, indicating a possible partial government shutdown before a full government shutdown.
The bill does not include funding for Israel or Ukraine, with some Senate Democrats already expressing opposition to the proposal.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the upper chamber will work toward a temporary extension to avoid a government shutdown this week. The New York Democrat said parties will continue discussions on a CR, while stressing the only way to fund the government is on a bipartisan basis.
The proposal comes after former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was booted from the top spot, partly due to his move to pass a “clean” stopgap bill that required the help of Democrats to extend government funding until Nov. 17. Johnson voted against that clean stopgap bill.
Emily Brooks contributed