The plan to continue funding the work of the US federal government, proposed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives Mike Johnson, is not serious and leads to the suspension of its work (shutdown). White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

“This proposal is a recipe for more chaos from Republicans and [leads to] more shutdowns,” the document said.

The White House spokeswoman said Republicans in the House “are wasting precious time on an unserious proposal criticized by members of both parties”.

Jean-Pierre said a federal government shutdown would “jeopardize” national security and domestic policy goals, including “forcing military personnel to work without pay”. The White House spokeswoman stressed that Republicans in the lower house of Congress “should stop wasting time on intraparty bickering, do their job and work in a bipartisan way to prevent a shutdown.”

Earlier, Johnson introduced a bill to temporarily continue funding the federal government. It would continue funding the work of some government programs and agencies, including agriculture, energy, military, transportation and housing, until Jan. 19, 2024. Funding for the work of other departments and programmes is proposed to be extended until 2 February 2024. The bill does not provide funding for support for Israel and Ukraine, or for protecting U.S. borders, which Johnson said should be considered in isolation from a bill designed to avoid a shutdown.

The Hill newspaper stresses that Johnson’s proposal has already been criticized by some of his fellow party members, which reduces the chances that the bill will be approved by the lower house of Congress, where Republicans have a majority. Even if approved in the House of Representatives, the bill is highly likely to be rejected by the Senate of Congress, where the Democrats retain the majority. Thus, according to the publication’s estimates, Johnson’s proposed initiative is unlikely to help avoid a government shutdown.

The compromise bill to continue funding the federal government, passed earlier by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden, expires on 17 November. If the U.S. legislative and executive branches do not adopt a new similar document by that time, ministries and agencies will be forced to suspend work due to lack of funding.

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