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 PelosiSunday shows preview: Bipartisan infrastructure talks drag on; Democrats plow ahead with Jan. 6 probe House Democrats grow frustrated as they feel ignored by Senate Yellen to Congress: Raise the debt ceiling or risk 'irreparable harm' MORE (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHouse Democrats grow frustrated as they feel ignored by Senate Democrats question GOP shift on vaccines Has Trump beaten the system? MORE (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerMcConnell pushes vaccines, but GOP muddles his message Biden administration stokes frustration over Canada Schumer blasts McCarthy for picking people who 'supported the big lie' for Jan. 6 panel MORE (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthySunday shows preview: Bipartisan infrastructure talks drag on; Democrats plow ahead with Jan. 6 probe Democrats question GOP shift on vaccines Has Trump beaten the system? 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 CornynSchumer feels pressure from all sides on spending strategy Data reveal big opportunity to finish the vaccine job GOP senators invite Yellen to brief them on debt ceiling expiration, inflation 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 MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Biden rallies Senate Dems behind mammoth spending plan Mnuchin dodges CNBC questions on whether Trump lying over election Democrats justified in filibustering GOP, says Schumer 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 ThuneFrustration builds as infrastructure talks drag On The Money: Senate braces for nasty debt ceiling fight | Democrats pushing for changes to bipartisan deal | Housing prices hit new high in June Transit funding, broadband holding up infrastructure deal 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.