How Johnson picked up wins and losses with last-minute spending bill – Washington Examiner

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) walked away from a last-minute minibus spending bill to avert a government shutdown on his watch with a few cuts and bruises to go with the victory.

Released just after 3 a.m., the $1 trillion, 1,012-page minibus package marks the end of a nearly yearlong saga to fund the government. After such a long period of negotiations, Johnson had to settle for accomplishing some of his aims while ceding defeat in others.

Here are Johnson’s wins and losses in the 2024 spending bill.

Win: Border security

The House Republican summary of the bill touted several victories on border security, including $496 million to hire 22,000 Border Patrol agents, the highest level of funding for said purpose so far. Several hundred million dollars were also allocated for technology to strengthen the border — $283.5 million of increased funding for acquiring new border security technology, as well as the restoration of $103.4 million for shortfalls in existing border security technology, such as autonomous surveillance towers and tunnel detection. This represents a 25% increase in spending on border technology.

Roughly $348 million in equipment to detect fentanyl and other narcotics was also provided. Nearly $150 million was provided for increasing overtime pay for Border Patrol agents and hiring new Customs and Border Protection officers.

Another $1.2 billion is allocated to counter the flow of fentanyl and other narcotics.

Johnson saw the spending on border security as one of the crowning achievements of the bill, touting it in his statement on the matter.

“Overall, during the FY24 appropriations process, House Republicans have achieved significant conservative policy wins, rejected extreme Democrat proposals, and imposed substantial cuts to wasteful agencies and programs while strengthening border security and national defense,” the House speaker said.

Loss: Border security

While Johnson got many of his wishes regarding border security, he also experienced losses on the matter, touted by Democrats. House Democrats, in their summary of the bill, praised that no funding was allocated for a border wall, which they referred to as the “failed and destructive Trump border wall construction projects.”

One provision pushed through requires Immigration and Customs Enforcement to publish a list of transgender detainees.

A further $29.9 million is allocated to “support the safe reunification of families who were unjustly separated at the U.S.-Mexico border by the Trump Administration.”

Furthermore, the processing capacity of border authorities was increased to accommodate more illegal immigrants.

Win: Hawkish defense spending

Among Johnson’s priorities has been boosting national defense, something accomplished through the bill. The bill provides a $27 billion increase in defense funding over last year’s bill, with stresses on countering China.

Among the provisions are the maxing out of the production of critical munitions, the doubling of security cooperation funding for Taiwan, further funding of next-generation vehicles, and the prohibition of funding for the Wuhan Institute of Virology and EcoHealth Alliance.

The bill also cut $50.5 million from diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in the military proposed by President Joe Biden, along with $574 million in climate change programs.

It also instituted a 5.2% pay increase for military service members — the largest in more than 20 years.

Loss: Failure of efforts to rein in diversity, equity, and inclusion programs

A key priority of Republicans in recent years has been countering the growth of DEI in the government. Johnson and Republicans attempted to introduce measures into the bill that would limit or counteract DEI programs, but these attempts were largely unsuccessful.


As Democrats pointed out in their summary, Republicans attempted to block funds for programs intended to promote DEI broadly, attempted to block programs promoting DEI in the Department of Defense, intelligence community, and legislative branch separately, and attempted to block the implementation of executive orders related to DEI. All of these efforts were defeated by Democrats.

The only accomplishments Johnson made in fighting back against DEI were the cutting of some funding for new DEI programs in the Defense Department, proposed by Biden, and the prevention of their expansion.