Congress Reaches Deal on COVID Relief & Omnibus Spending Package
Do you support the two-day stopgap spending bill to avoid a shutdown while negotiations continue?
by Causes | 12.20.20
UPDATE 12/20/20 (6:20pm EST):
- Congressional leaders announced Sunday evening that they have reached a bipartisan, bicameral agreement on a $2.3 trillion package that includes $900 billion in coronavirus relief plus a $1.4 trillion omnibus appropriations package for FY2021.
- The legislative text of the deal hasn't been made public and likely won't be final until Monday, so the House will vote this evening on a one-day continuing resolution (CR) to prevent a partial government shutdown from beginning at midnight. The Senate is expected to follow suit later Sunday night.
- Lawmakers hope to have the legislative text ready Monday morning so that the House Rules Committee can prep it for floor consideration. The rule for the bill will include a one-week CR to extend funding while the omnibus and COVID-19 package are considered, processed, and formally enrolled. While the rule itself will only be considered by the House, the one-week CR would be sent to the Senate.
- Floor consideration of the omnibus and coronavirus relief package is expected to begin on Monday, starting with the House. It's possible that the package could clear both chambers on Monday, although consideration on the Senate side could continue into Tuesday or Wednesday.
UPDATE 12/20/20 (12pm EST):
- Congress is close to finalizing the language for the $900 billion coronavirus relief package and the $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill, after resolving several outstanding issues over the weekend.
- Leadership has informed members that votes are expected later today on the $2.3 trillion package and consideration may continue into the evening. It's possible that Congress may also take up another continuing resolution to prevent a partial shutdown if consideration runs into Monday.
- The House Rules Committee hasn't yet scheduled a hearing to prepare the legislation for consideration on the House floor.
UPDATE 12/18/20 (7pm EST):
- The Senate passed the two-day continuing resolution (CR) by unanimous consent, averting a shutdown and giving lawmakers until midnight Sunday to strike a deal on omnibus appropriations for FY2021 and coronavirus relief. President Donald Trump will sign the CR into law this evening.
What’s the story?
- Congress will attempt to pass a two-day continuing resolution (CR) to prevent a partial government shutdown at 11:59:59pm Eastern this Friday evening, as negotiators continue working to finalize a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill for the rest of FY2021 and a roughly $900 billion coronavirus relief package.
- The House tried to pass the bill by voice vote, but Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) requested a recorded vote, prompting fellow members to go on the record. The CR then passed the House with a strong bipartisan vote of 320-60 under suspension of the rules, which requires a two-thirds majority for passage in exchange for shortened debate.
- Things will get trickier as it heads to the other side of the Capitol, as the Senate is expected to attempt to pass the bill this evening. For the Senate to bypass its standard procedural hurdles, a unanimous consent agreement will be required for it to be considered so quickly, which means that a single senator can object and prompt a partial shutdown over the weekend.
- There are several senators who, through past actions or recent comments, are more likely to object to the CR, although a few have clarified that they won’t block the stopgap bill.
- Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who has objected to spending bills in the past, indicated that he won’t block this CR.
- Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) warned that he would block the bill if the coronavirus package leaves out direct stimulus payments to Americans, but said this afternoon he will consent to the CR after he was “assured by Senate GOP leadership that #COVID direct assistance IS in the #covid relief bill under negotiation & will remain in.”
- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who has recently teamed up with Hawley to push for $1,200 stimulus checks (larger than the $600 reportedly in the package), was asked whether he would object and told reporters, “We’ll see what goes on. Don’t know yet.”
- House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) indicated that the House will not vote again until 1pm Eastern on Sunday, and explained that even if negotiators strike a deal Friday night or Saturday it will take time to translate the deal into legislative text.
- If the Senate syncs up with the House and approves the CR, a partial shutdown over the weekend will be avoided, but if it fails to do so the operations of some federal agencies will be impacted over the weekend and for the duration of the lapse in funding.
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: iStock.com / YayaErnst)
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