Lawmakers aim to pass 1-week spending bill to avoid government shutdown, as talks continue on COVID aid
“I anticipate that the Senate will take up a one-week extension this week, so the government does not close on December the 11th and work can continue through the end of next week,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican.
Meanwhile, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, tweeted Monday that his chamber also will vote on a one-week measure, with that move expected on Wednesday.
“I am disappointed that we have not yet reached agreement on government funding,” Hoyer said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the two top Democrats in Congress, last week endorsed a COVID aid plan with a $908 billion price tag that was proposed by the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus and nine senators.
The $908 billion proposal would provide roughly $300 in extra federal weekly unemployment benefits but not another round of $1,200 stimulus checks. A framework for that package, including $160 billion for state and local governments, was rolled out last week, and legislative text was expected early this week.
“There’s real momentum to reach a COVID-19 relief deal in the next two weeks, but difficult work lays ahead in getting signoff from Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell,” said Ben Koltun, a senior research analyst at Beacon Policy Advisors, in a note Monday.
“Mainly, it’s resolving the two most contentious issues that have stymied previous negotiations: state and local government aid and a liability shield.”
In addition to further relief in response to the coronavirus crisis, Washington also has been working to deliver an annual defense bill.
U.S. stocks closed mostly in the red on Monday as investors tracked developments in Washington, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.49% and S&P 500 SPX, -0.19% lower but the Nasdaq Composite COMP, +0.45% higher.