In an effort to keep the government open past November 17, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has proposed a new idea for a temporary spending measure. The idea, known as a “laddered CR,” would extend funding for individual agencies until specific dates. The hope is that this approach would create a sense of urgency to pass individual appropriations bills, ultimately avoiding the need for an omnibus or another continuing resolution.
This proposal may also attract the support of hard-line conservatives who have historically opposed continuing resolutions. These conservatives argue that such resolutions only defer the problem of government spending without actually finding a solution. By funding agencies separately and setting different expiration dates for each, the laddered CR might provide an incentive for the Senate to take up individual bills instead of pushing for an omnibus approach.
The concept was initially brought up by Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture. Harris believes that the Agriculture Appropriations bill, along with the Military Construction and Veteran Affairs appropriations bill, are ready to go into a conference committee with the Senate. However, given the limited time left before the November 17 deadline, Harris believes a laddered approach to a continuing resolution would be the most feasible option.
The idea of a laddered continuing resolution is uncharted territory, but in theory, it would force Congress to prioritize and pass appropriation bills for agencies facing imminent funding loss. Once funding is secured for those agencies, lawmakers would move on to the next set of bills. The goal is to prevent any unnecessary delays and keep the legislative process moving.
House Republicans float a new idea for funding the government ahead of shutdown https://t.co/ojdtZNS3r7
— MARY EDNA DAVIS (@earnestmary) November 4, 2023
While it remains uncertain whether this plan will come to fruition, there are some members who have reservations about its effectiveness. Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) suggests focusing on getting the Senate to pass a bill so that a conference can be initiated as soon as possible. His main concern is to buy enough time through a continuing resolution, rather than experimenting with a new approach.
Overall, the laddered CR idea presents an opportunity to address government funding in a more targeted and efficient manner. By avoiding the pitfalls of omnibus bills and continuing resolutions, conservatives hope to find a way to address spending issues head-on.