Capitol Hill is breathing a sigh of relief as lawmakers jet back to their home states for the Thanksgiving holiday after a grueling 10 weeks full of late-night votes and, toward the end, increasingly testy exchanges.
It’s tested the mettle of newly minted Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., whose leadership victory temporarily appeared to unite what’s been a highly divided House GOP Conference this year.
But months-old fractures, particularly over government spending, have continued to widen three weeks into Johnson’s speakership – despite scoring some key victories so early in his tenure.
Johnson managed to usher through the House an Israel aid bill without President Biden’s request for additional billions toward Ukraine, Taiwan and his own border policies, and offsetting the $14.3 billion aid with money the president allocated toward the IRS.
He also led Congress to avoid a government shutdown by passing a “clean” extension of last year’s federal funding along bipartisan lines ahead of the Friday fiscal deadline.
It was the latter move that helped fuel a rebellion within his own party on Thursday – from both hardline conservatives who felt betrayed by the measure and moderates who were sick of being forced into politically difficult votes by the right flank’s demands.