Congress will try to buy more time for stimulus negotiations by voting on a one-week extension of government funding to December 18

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
  • House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced on Monday that the chamber would vote on a one-week extension of government funding to buy more time for relief negotiations.
  • “I am disappointed that we have not yet reached agreement on government funding,” Hoyer said.
  • McConnell later said that the Senate would take up the short-term spending measure as well.
  • Congress is aiming to attach a coronavirus relief bill to the must-pass spending package this month.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Congress will vote on a one-week extension of government funding to buy more time for negotiators to iron out the details of a coronavirus relief package, congressional leaders said on Monday.

“I am disappointed that we have not yet reached agreement on government funding,” Steny Hoyer, the chamber’s No. 2 Democrat, tweeted. “The House will vote on Wednesday on a one-week CR to keep government open while negotiations continue.”

Hoyer said both parties must make some trade-offs as negotiators work on an emergency federal rescue package.

“We have to come together and have some give and take,” Hoyer told reporters on Capitol Hill on Monday, per pool reports. “But not getting a deal done — it’s not an option from my perspective.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a floor speech on Monday that he backed a short-term spending measure as well, but didn’t immediately provide a date for a vote.

Read more: A government shutdown looms. Here’s what’s at stake if Congress doesn’t reach a deal before midnight December 11 or right after.

Approval from both chambers and a signature from President Donald Trump would keep the federal government funded until December 18. Congress then needs to approve another short-term spending package or large-scale omnibus bill by that day or many government agencies would start shutting down.

Funding for agencies like the Department of Commerce and the Pentagon must be renewed annually, though other programs absorbing a major chunk of the federal budget like Medicare are on autopilot.

The Washington Post reported on Monday that strong disagreements on numerous policy issues — notably immigration — were holding up negotiations on a government funding bill. Lawmakers are aiming to attach a coronavirus relief package to the critical spending bill this month.

But the newspaper reported that the legislative text for the $US908 billion bipartisan relief-package framework could come on Tuesday at the earliest. It’s expected to include $US300 weekly unemployment benefits, small-business aid, and assistance for state and local governments, but it’s likely to exclude a second wave of $US1,200 stimulus checks.

McConnell lambasted Democrats, arguing they were unyielding to a compromise for months. He urged both parties to coalesce around another rescue plan with their shared priorities.

“Republicans and Democrats do not need to resolve every one of our differences to get badly-needed relief out the door,” he said. “We just need both sides to finally do what members of Congress do when they’re serious about wanting an outcome: Drop the all-or-nothing tactics, drop the hostage-taking, and make law in the many places where we have common ground.”

He listed extended unemployment insurance, vaccine-related funding, and new money for the Paycheck Protection Program to aid small businesses as measures that could draw bipartisan support. But the Kentucky Republican did not indicate whether he would endorse the economic aid plan taking shape, which contains those measures.

Trump could support the final rescue package depending on its design, his top economic advisor, Larry Kudlow, said on Monday.

“I believe that it is likely he will, but it depends on some of the policy details inside,” Kudlow said at a Washington Post Live event. “I stress it’s not the aggregate number so much as it is the specific policies that would be discussed and proposed.”

Kudlow struck an optimistic tone about the trajectory of relief talks so far. “We are moving in the right direction, I think,” he said. “We’re getting closer.”


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