House Speaker Mike Johnson, a conservative Louisiana Republican, expressed his willingness to extend government funding into January with another stopgap bill as Congress faces a looming deadline. Lawmakers have until November 17th to reach a budget agreement to keep the federal government running or pass another temporary bill. Johnson emphasized the importance of getting the government funded and finishing the appropriations process. He mentioned that Congress will address three appropriations bills this week, having already passed a water and energy bill last week. Johnson suggested that if a stopgap funding measure is necessary, it should be extended until January 15th.
Escalating Conflict in the Middle East
The Sunday morning talk shows also delved into the escalating conflict in the Middle East, specifically Israel’s expanding presence in Gaza. Israel declared it was entering a second phase of the war with Hamas. National security adviser Jake Sullivan acknowledged the significant number of civilian casualties resulting from the ongoing bombardment in Gaza. He affirmed that the United States firmly stands for protecting the lives of civilians and supports all reasonable and responsible measures to achieve that goal.
President Joe Biden plans to have a conversation with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later today. Sullivan highlighted that negotiations for the release of hostages in Gaza are ongoing and there is still hope for their safe return despite the escalation of the ground attack.
Additionally, efforts are being made to assist 600 Americans and other foreign nationals stranded in Gaza by facilitating their evacuation to Egypt. Sullivan stressed that this evacuation is an equal priority to securing the release of hostages.
The situation in Gaza remains dire, with reports of people breaking into aid warehouses in search of food and personal hygiene products. Gaza’s health ministry reported a devastating death toll of more than 8,000 Palestinians, many of whom are women and children.