As the December 11 deadline to fund the government approaches, Congress is set to pass a one-week continuing resolution to avert a government shutdown and allow more time for negotiation talks on government appropriation bills and another COVID-19 relief package.
Negotiations over the government funding bill have stalled, with lawmakers divided on at least a dozen policy issues. Congressional leaders are hoping to attach coronavirus relief legislation to the must-pass government spending bill, but work on that effort is also far from complete.
Last week a bipartisan group of Senators released a COVID-19 Emergency Relief Framework of $908 billion that would meet congressional Democrats’ top demands to provide hundreds of billions in aid to unemployed Americans and hundreds of billions of dollars to hard-hit states and cities. It also would meet Republicans’ demands to approve new small-business funding and, at least temporarily, protect businesses and other entities from coronavirus-related lawsuits. The measure includes other priorities to help the nation through the coronavirus pandemic, such as funding for health officials to help with the distribution of the coronavirus vaccine, as well as aid for hospitals, the hungry, and the U.S. Postal Service, broadband access, and childcare. Please visit the Independent Sector Action Center to share your support for these critical priorities.
The bipartisan group of Senators is expected to release a section-by-section summary of their plan soon, but they remain divided over the liability piece for coronavirus-related lawsuits and how to apportion funding for state and local governments.
We expect to see more concrete action next week related to government funding bills and COVID-19 relief legislation. And as always, we will keep you appraised on any new developments.