To avert a looming government shutdown this weekend, the House of Representatives Wednesday passed a continuing resolution that will keep the government running and give lawmakers more time to pass a comprehensive coronavirus relief bill and a $1.4 trillion omnibus budget bill for the 2021 fiscal year.
The House has already passed one continuing resolution this year, which extended the initial shutdown deadline from September 30 (the fiscal 2021 year started on October 1) to December 11.
The second continuing resolution passed Wednesday in a 343-67 vote and extended the shutdown deadline by one week to December 18.
Next week, lawmakers are hoping to bundle an omnibus spending bill with another round of federal coronavirus aid, but roadblocks remain on both fronts.
Democrats and Republicans continue to disagree on certain budget issues including funding for the border wall, Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers, and veterans’ healthcare.
Stimulus negotiations have grown more urgent and more complicated this week as lawmakers grapple with a $908 billion bipartisan plan as well as a separate $916 billion plan from the Trump administration.
Disagreements remain in a number of critical areas including state and local aid, liability protections for businesses, direct payments, and unemployment benefits.
What To Watch For
The continuing resolution will now head to the Senate, which is expected to approve it before the December 11 deadline.
“The C.R. is a recognition of failure,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Wednesday on the House floor. Hoyer criticized the Republican-led Senate because it has not yet passed any of the 12 appropriations bills that comprise the omnibus spending package. “That has delayed us substantially,” he said, “not because the House didn’t do its work on time, but because for whatever reason the Senate did not address the appropriations process in a timely fashion.”
The House Tuesday passed a separate $741 billion defense spending bill by a wide margin, setting up a confrontation with President Trump, who has pledged to veto the legislation over a legal shield for social media companies he believes should be repealed.