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Will Speaker Mike Johnson Cave or Fight?

Updated: Feb 26

As Congress careens toward another budget deadline Axios reports that Democrats are likely to block a clean Continuing Resolution that allows a 1% spending cut to take effect.

As Juliegrace Brufke explained, the government will start a partial shutdown unless a budget or spending stopgap is passed by March 1. It will go into a full shutdown if there's not a budget or stopgap by March 8. If there's not a new budget by April 30, it will trigger a 1% across-the-board spending cut. Democrats say they won't back a stopgap bill beyond that date.


"We think we're going to meet the deadlines," Johnson told reporters last week.

However, behind closed doors, House Republicans have shifted from optimistically cautious to expecting a government shutdown, "People are predicting a shutdown even if it's just for a few days," a GOP lawmaker recently told Axios.

An across-the-board cut of 1% would be a win according to some House conservatives who are frustrated by the lack of progress on real border security and other key elements of the conservative agenda.

In a recent issue of his must-read Committee to Unleash Prosperity Hotline, our friend Stephen Moore, who is generally opposed to the idea of government shutdowns, urged Speaker Johnson to double down.

Steve Moore wrote Republicans should bring a clean continuing resolution on the floor.  Any Democrat voting against it would have to explain to the American people why they prefer a shutdown to a minuscule 1% cut to the budget after they’ve added some $5 trillion of new spending under Biden.


On the budget stalemate, Republicans could flip the table on the Democrats, said Moore. They should take their case to voters: Democrats are so addicted to debt spending that they won’t even accept a teeny-weeny cut of less $50 billion out of a $6 trillion annual budget.

We think Steve Moore is absolutely right, but the question is, is Speaker Johnson enough of a strategic thinker to tough-out such a high stakes political move?


The signs are not encouraging.


At a meeting late last week Speaker Johnson allegedly told the House Republican Conference he refuses to shutdown the government over any of the big issues, such as border security, and is instead looking for some ill-defined “small ball” wins through negotiation with Democrats.

We think conservatives have been more than tolerant in giving Speaker Johnson leeway in getting his footing in his new role and working with a thin majority of two votes, but at some point he is going to have to stand for the conservative principles that he espoused when he was not Speaker, otherwise he’s just another empty DC suit like Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy.

The Capitol Switchboard is (202-224-3121), call today and tell Speaker Johnson a shutdown resulting in a 1% cut in spending is a conservative win. Tell him you expect him to fight, not cave, in a fight where the upside for conservatives is so obvious.

  • Speaker Mike Johnson

  • Continuing Resolution

  • Partial government shutdown

  • stopgap bill

  • 1% across the board spending cut

  • government shutdown

  • border security

  • clean continuing resolution

  • spending cuts

  • debt spending

  • Paul Ryan

  • Kevin McCarthy

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