Congress returned to DC this week after a two-week recess for Presidents' Day, facing a government shutdown scheduled to start at midnight on Friday. President Biden summoned the bipartisan leadership to the White House on Tuesday, and by Thursday the House and Senate were able to pass an extension of current funding for at least a week.

Under a plan developed by House Speaker Mike Johnson, a two-tier funding structure has been accepted where departments such as Agriculture, Interior, House, and Transportation will have their budgets run until next Friday, March 8 while the larger Departments such as Defense and Health & Human Services (HHS) will run until March 22.

While the votes were by large margins and bipartisan, the House vote had some warning signs for the Speaker.  In the House the vote was 320 YES to 99 NO; but 97 of the 99 NO votes came from conservative Republicans.  These are the same Republicans who drove former Speaker McCarthy out of office for working with Democrats. With only 218 Republicans currently in the House, the Speaker has very little wiggle room in keeping the government open.

The Senate vote was equally bipartisan, with a vote of 77 YES to 13 NO. Again, all the NO votes came from Republicans.

The plan of the Leadership is to have vot...

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