Congress buys more negotiating time by extending spending deadline until next week

All Patriot NewsDecember 9, 20204min

The House gave Congress a one-week deadline extension on government funding on Wednesday, passing a stop-gap measure to extend current-year spending levels until Dec. 18.

The Senate is expected to clear the bill this week.

Lawmakers drafted the short-term bill after they failed to reach an agreement on legislation to fund the government through next year. The extended deadline also provides an additional week for bipartisan negotiators to hammer out a deal on a coronavirus aid package they hope to attach to the government spending measure.

Last-minute temporary government funding bills, known as continuing resolutions, have become commonplace in Congress thanks to partisan disagreements over government spending.

Lawmakers in both parties criticized the need for another extension but said it was necessary to prevent a dreaded partial government shutdown.

“We’re here with what we call a continuing resolution, but that really is an admission of failure,” Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, said ahead of the vote. “We passed one before Sept. 30, so the government didn’t shut down. It was the right thing to do. We’re going to pass one now. It’s the right thing to do. This is something we have to do to keep the government working. But we ought not to believe or pretend or represent this is the way we ought to do business. It is not. It is a function of procrastination, a function of failing to come together and making compromises. That’s what this body is about, all these chairs here. We have to come to agreement.”

The fiscal 2021 funding bill is mostly agreed on, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican, said Wednesday. But the two parties are stuck on wall funding, which the GOP is seeking and Democrats oppose, as well as whether to include police reform language sought by House Democrats, among other issues.

The House took up the bill under special rules limiting debate and requiring a two-thirds vote for passage.

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