Congress Passes 1-Week Stopgap Spending Bill to Keep the Government Open

Dec 14, 2020

by ASME.org

Last week, Congress passed a week-long stopgap spending bill to keep the Federal government operating beyond December 11, when the previous stopgap measure was set to expire. This week, Congressional and White House negotiators will continue discussions on a long-term spending bill that will fund the Federal government for the remainder of Fiscal Year (FY) 2021. Congressional leaders are also aiming to attach a $900 billion coronavirus virus relief package to the final appropriations bill and pass the measures before the Christmas holiday.
 
The current 1-week spending package the Federal government is now operating under is set to expire on Friday, December 18, making this week critical for Congressional negotiators to come up with a compromise that will allow a final bill to cross the finish line.
 
To spur negotiations, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin offered $916 billion on behalf of unknowing Congressional Republicans. Congressional Democrats, while satisfied with the price tag, were not willing to accept any proposal that did not include at least $300 per week in supplemental unemployment benefits. Instead, Democrats are still working to build off of a proposed $908 billion plan that is backed by a partisan group of legislators that offers Democrats their desired supplemental unemployment benefits.
 
Disagreements surrounding the coronavirus relief package seem to be the main holdup to passing a final bill. Fortunately, most of the negotiations around FY 2021 funding have already been worked out and are ready to move forward. Up until now, FY 2021 appropriations have not been passed largely due to prior disagreements over including $2 billion for President Trump’s border wall. However, Montana Senator Jon Tester, the top Democrat on the subcommittee overseeing the Homeland Security Department, has stated that he is under the impression that the differences holding up the funding are now able to be resolved.
 

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