Congress eyes 1-week stopgap, longer session to reach deal

Congress is weighing a weeklong stopgap measure to avoid a government shutdown after current funding runs out Friday.

A House Democratic leadership aide said that a one-week stopgap measure is likely as negotiators continue ironing out a full-year spending bill in which long-stalled coronavirus economic relief would be attached.

Another Democratic aide cautioned that a stopgap bill, known as a continuing resolution, is possible but not set in stone yet.

The acknowledgement that lawmakers may need to turn to a short-term funding patch comes despite House Democrats originally aiming to wrap up their 2020 work by the end of next week.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) predicted earlier this week that Congress would need a short-term funding bill to give the negotiators more time to complete a mammoth spending package.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said that he had hoped to let members go home by the end of next week to give them enough time to quarantine if necessary before spending Christmas with their families. But a stopgap funding bill lasting through Dec. 18 would delay that timeline.

Three House members — Reps. Austin Scott (R-Ga.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.) and Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) — all announced this week that they tested positive for COVID-19 amid a spike in cases nationally and among members of Congress.

Lawmakers are eager to wrap up their work to limit the possibility of the virus spreading in the Capitol as they travel from all over the country and congregate on the House and Senate floors.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) spoke Thursday on a strategy for passing legislation in the coming days to both fund the government and provide COVID-19 economic relief.

“We’ll take the time we need, and we must get it done,” Pelosi told reporters on Friday. “We cannot leave without it.”

Tags Austin Scott Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Richard Shelby Robert Aderholt Steny Hoyer Ted Budd

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