Government Funding Bill May Extend to March, Says Sen. John Thune Amidst Deadline Pressure

WASHINGTON (AP) — As Congress faces tight deadlines to pass appropriations bills and avoid a government shutdown, Senate Republican Whip John Thune of South Dakota suggested that a short-term government funding bill, known as a continuing resolution (CR), may be necessary until the “March timeframe.” Thune explained that Congress needs more time to process the 12 outstanding appropriations bills.

Thune expressed doubts about Congress being able to complete the work ahead of the approaching deadlines, citing the late agreement on topline funding levels and the challenging task of negotiating the individual bills. He emphasized the importance of allowing time to work on the other bills and suggested that a CR might be needed.

Last year, Congress passed stopgap legislation to extend government funding until January 19 for certain areas, with the rest of the government funded until February 2. Thune’s support for a continuing resolution could put him at odds with House Speaker Mike Johnson and the Republican-controlled House, as Johnson pledged to no longer support short-term CRs last November.

While House Republican leaders have not committed to a stopgap spending bill, they discussed the possibility during a closed-door meeting on Tuesday. This indicates a potential shift in Johnson’s stance as the next government funding deadline draws near.

Thune urged for work to be done on the bills that the Senate has already begun to process, criticizing Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for not properly managing the floor. He also warned against a government shutdown, emphasizing that no political or policy gain has ever come from such an outcome.

With regard to border security policy, Thune believed that Congress could eventually reach a deal that allows funding for Ukraine and Israel but acknowledged that it is unlikely to happen until after addressing government funding issues.

Schumer and Johnson recently reached an agreement on topline spending numbers, the first step in the process to fund the federal government. However, some conservative House Republicans have criticized the deal and pushed for border policy changes in exchange for avoiding a government shutdown.

Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia echoed Thune’s view that a short-term continuing resolution may be necessary and warned against using a government shutdown as leverage for border legislation. Senator Roger Marshall of Kansas also agreed that a CR might be the only feasible option.

As Congress grapples with tight deadlines and the need to pass appropriations bills, the possibility of a short-term government funding bill, or continuing resolution, has emerged. Senate Republican Whip John Thune suggested that a CR may be needed until the “March timeframe,” citing the need for more time to process outstanding appropriations bills. Thune’s stance may put him at odds with Republicans in the House, some of whom have expressed a desire to avoid short-term CRs. Meanwhile, House Republican leaders discussed the possibility of a stopgap spending bill during a recent meeting. The situation highlights the challenges faced by Congress in reaching a funding agreement and avoiding a government shutdown.