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US House Speaker Johnson floats plan to avert shutdown

A Republican stopgap spending measure unveiled by United States House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson to avert a government shutdown has quickly run into opposition from lawmakers from both parties in Congress.

Unlike ordinary continuing resolutions, or "CRs", that fund federal agencies for a specific period, the measure announced on Saturday by Johnson would fund some parts of the government until January 19 and others until February 2.

House Republicans hope to pass the measure on Tuesday.

US Speaker Mike Johnson's two-step funding plan has divided Republicans.

"This two-step continuing resolution is a necessary bill to place House Republicans in the best position to fight for conservative victories," Johnson said in a statement after announcing the plan.

The House Republican stopgap contained no supplemental funding such as aid for Israel or Ukraine.

The House and Democratic-led Senate must agree on a spending vehicle that President Joe Biden can sign into law by Friday, or risk a fourth partial government shutdown in a decade that would close national parks, disrupt pay for as many as four million federal workers and disrupt a swath of activities from financial oversight to scientific research.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a release the proposal was "just a recipe for more Republican chaos and more shutdowns".

"House Republicans are wasting precious time with an unserious proposal that has been panned by members of both parties," she said.

Johnson unveiled his stopgap a day after Moody's - the last major credit ratings agency to maintain a top "AAA" rating on the US government - lowered its outlook on the nation's credit to "negative" from "stable", citing political polarisation in Congress on spending as a danger to the nation's fiscal health.

The legislation would extend funding for military construction, veterans benefits, transportation, housing, urban development, agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration and energy and water programs through to January 19.

Funding for all other federal operations would expire on February 2.

The US Capitol in Washington
The US government faces a shutdown unless Congress overcomes a budget impasse.

The plan quickly came under fire from members of both parties.

"My opposition to the clean CR just announced by the Speaker to the @HouseGOP cannot be overstated," Representative Chip Roy, a member of the hardline House Freedom Caucus, said on the social media platform X.

"It's a 100% clean. And I 100% oppose," wrote Roy, who had called for the new measure to include spending cuts.

Democratic Senator Brian Schatz called Johnson's measure "super convoluted", adding that "all of this nonsense costs taxpayer money".

A stopgap measure would give representatives more time to implement full-scale appropriations bills to fund the government through to September 30.

Johnson put Democrats on notice that failure to reach agreement on 2024 spending would prompt House Republicans to implement "a full-year CR with appropriate adjustments to meet our national security priorities".

House Republican hardliners have been pushing to cut fiscal 2024 spending below the $US1.59 ($A2.5) trillion level Biden and Johnson's predecessor agreed in the May deal that averted default.

But even that is a small slice of the overall federal budget, which also includes mandatory outlays for Social Security and Medicare and topped $US6.1 ($A9.6) trillion in fiscal 2023.