Congressional leaders to meet on government funding, coronavirus relief as deadline looms

Top congressional leaders are meeting on Tuesday afternoon as they try to finalize a mammoth government funding bill and work out an agreement on coronavirus relief. 

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiThe growing threat of China's lawfare Pelosi planned on retiring until Trump won election: report Biden: 'Prince Philip gladly dedicated himself to the people of the UK' MORE (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRomney blasts end of filibuster, expansion of SCOTUS McConnell, GOP slam Biden's executive order on SCOTUS Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists MORE (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerThe first Southern state legalizes marijuana — what it means nationally H.R. 1/S. 1: Democrats defend their majorities, not honest elections McCarthy asks FBI, CIA for briefing after two men on terror watchlist stopped at border MORE (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyRepublican House campaign arm rakes in .7 million in first quarter McCarthy asks FBI, CIA for briefing after two men on terror watchlist stopped at border Harris in difficult starring role on border MORE (R-Calif.) are set to meet at 4 p.m. to discuss both issues, two sources and a senior Democratic aide confirmed to The Hill. 

The meeting comes as appropriators are hoping to file text of an agreement on an omnibus funding bill, which would keep the government open until Oct. 1, on Tuesday, setting up votes in the House as soon as Wednesday. Congress has until Friday night to pass another funding bill or the government will shut down. 


As of Monday night there were still two sticking points for a funding deal: A push to include an agreement on surprise medical billing and wage requirements on public works deals. 

"I think it's possible that it'll be today. They keep kicking back the deadline for putting your pencil down," Sen. John CornynJohn CornynOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Dakota Access pipeline to remain in operation despite calls for shutdown | Biden hopes to boost climate spending by B | White House budget proposes .4B for environmental justice 2024 GOP White House hopefuls lead opposition to Biden Cabinet Number of migrants detained at southern border reaches 15-year high: reports MORE (R-Texas), an adviser to McConnell, told reporters, when asked about the chance that text of a government funding deal is filed on Tuesday. 

The meeting between the four congressional leaders comes after Pelosi and McConnell spoke earlier this month about both issues, though staff work has been ongoing since then. Politico first reported Tuesday's meeting. 

Pelosi has also been speaking to Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinDemocrats justified in filibustering GOP, says Schumer Yellen provides signature for paper currency Biden's name will not appear on stimulus checks, White House says MORE

A group of bipartisan senators introduced a $908 billion coronavirus package on Monday. In an effort to make it easier for leadership to pick pieces of their legislation, they broke it into two bills. One bill included items that are broadly bipartisan, including Paycheck Protection Program funding and money for things like vaccine distribution and schools and an unemployment benefit. 


The second piece includes the two most controversial issues: More money for state and local aid and protections against coronavirus-related lawsuits. 

But lawmakers say that any last-minute deal on coronavirus relief will need to be hashed out between the four leaders, and more specifically between McConnell and Pelosi. 

"I think it's getting closer, right? It includes a lot of things that are in our package, and number wise, it's less than what it was last week, so I think in the end, it's trending in the right direction," Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneSchumer kicks into reelection mode The Hill's Morning Report - Biden shifts on filibuster Biden allies eye two-step strategy on infrastructure MORE (S.D.), the No. 2 Republican senator, said about the package.

McConnell has called on Congress to drop both the state and local funding and liability protections and pass less controversial items as part of a government funding deal. 

Though more money for hard-hit states and cities has been a top priority for Democrats, they aren't shooting down accepting a scaled-back agreement that doesn't include it. 


“We are in negotiations," Pelosi said on Monday when asked if it was a red line, while adding that Democrats "very much" support providing more help for state and local governments. 

Schumer, asked about it as he was walking to his office, said, "We'll see what the Gang of Eight puts together, we believe state and local is the right thing to do."

— Updated at 12:59 p.m.