Mark Tenally / AP
With both sides unable to reach agreement on a larger spending deal and a possible economic relief bill, House lawmakers approved a week-long temporary funding measure to avoid a government shutdown before Friday deadline.
The House approved the measure on a vote of 343-67. He is now heading to the Senate, which is expected to pass it and send the bill to President Trump’s office by the end of the week.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Expressed frustration that lawmakers had to approve yet another interim measure, known as the Continuing Resolution, to keep the government lights on.
“We are not to believe or pretend or represent that this is the way we are to do business. It is not,” Hoyer said on the floor of the House. “It is a function of procrastination, a function of non-meeting and of compromise.”
In September, Congress approved its first interim measure for the new 2021 fiscal year which began on October 1. Wednesday’s measure marks the second such bill as lawmakers fail to agree on the series of spending bills for various federal agencies.
In addition, members hope to move forward on another round of coronavirus relief that could be tied to spending legislation. After a wave of offers was discussed between top House and Senate leaders and administration officials, little movement was detected on Wednesday.
For now, lawmakers have signaled they are staying closer to a broader omnibus spending measure.
“I know the staff are going to be working around the clock on the weekends to invoice us,” Hoyer said.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., Maintains that both sides were about 95% finished with a blanket spending deal, but the remaining 5% are the hardest to complete.
Shelby is also hoping the measure could be tied to a possible relief deal.
“I think maybe the omnibus and COVID relief are kind of linked,” Shelby told reporters at the Capitol Hill Pool.
Last week, a $ 908 billion proposal by a group of bipartisan centrist lawmakers restarted talks for a new round of humanitarian aid for the first time in weeks between top Congressional leaders and House officials. White.
But they couldn’t come to an agreement on the language of a new liability shield for businesses affected by the pandemic – a key concern for Republicans – and aid to state and local governments – a major demand for the Democrats.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Said the two provisions may need to be scrapped entirely from a final deal – but Democrats rejected the idea.
And a new $ 916 billion proposal unveiled by the White House on Tuesday also didn’t appear to help Democrats, who said the plan cut unemployment benefits.
“I think reducing unemployment… to next to nothing is a very, very bad idea, and so I am against it,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y.
Democrats have said the bipartisan agreement should remain the basis for talks. But McConnell said Congress was running out of time and criticized Democrats for rejecting the Republican leaders’ two recent proposals.
“We are at the heart of one of the worst national crises in modern memory, and people’s eyes are on Congress,” McConnell told the Senate. “They need the House and Senate to stop chasing us and make law.”