With lawmakers continuing to grapple over both coronavirus stimuli and a new candidate for the Supreme Court, Congress has managed to agree on at least one thing: avoiding a government shutdown.
The Senate passed a rolling resolution or short-term bill on Wednesday that will fund the government through December 11, just before the annual fiscal year deadline, which ends in late September. Legislation has progressed 84-10 and will allow government agencies to continue using federal funds until Congress passes a full spending statement for fiscal year 2021 beginning October 1. The House passed measure 359-57 last week, which means it is now heading to President Donald Trump's desk, where he is expected to sign it.
The resolution broadly continues funding to federal agencies at the existing level, but provides an additional $ 8 billion in food aid pushed by the Democrats, as well as language renewal funding for the USDA's Commodity Credit Corporation serving the Republicans were determined to involve Republicans in order to maintain a source of aid for farmers.
While holding back government funds had been circulated as a potential way for Congress Democrats to delay the Supreme Court's confirmation process, House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi eventually turned down the idea. “Well, none of us are interested in closing the government. It has such a harmful and painful effect on so many people in our country, "she said last week during an appearance on ABC.
Legislators from both parties have backed this funding legislation and guaranteed that a shutdown is not one of the problems Congress is already grappling with for now.
Government funding is one of the least controversial issues in Congress right now
While struggles for government funds have resulted in extensive closures in the past – including one in 2019 that lasted 35 days – this issue has emerged as one of the least controversial lawmakers grapple with in the face of an ongoing pandemic and violent Fight before the Supreme Court.
There has been little movement in terms of coronavirus aid for months, even as millions of Americans continue to face layoffs and thousands of small businesses weigh the permanent closings.
The House Democrats on Monday unveiled a new version of the HEROES bill that includes $ 2.2 trillion in incentives that extend a $ 600 weekly unemployment insurance surcharge, fund another round of direct incentive payments, and fund state and municipal Governments should be supported. Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have also resumed their talks, meeting on both Monday and Wednesday – although there is little evidence of any new progress on a compromise.
The Senate is also gearing up for an intense ratification battle for Trump Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, who would cement a 6-3 Conservative majority in the Supreme Court if approved. While the Senate Republicans refused to promote President Obama's Supreme Court nominee in an election year, they have changed course and are trying to quickly review Barrett and hold a confirmatory hearing ahead of the November 3rd election.
Democrats have stressed that Barrett could be the ultimate voice in repealing the Affordable Care Act and are now in the process of weighing how to respond to the verification process.
However, with the approval of the short-term funding bill, Congress suspended one of its debates for a few more months. It will have to revisit the issue in December, presumably after the confirmation negotiations and pandemic relief package are completed.
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