Congress passes one-day stopgap bill ahead of shutdown deadline

Greg Nash

The Senate passed a one-day stopgap bill on Sunday night hours after congressional leaders announced they had reached an agreement on a sweeping deal to fund the government and provide long-stalled coronavirus relief. 

The one-day bill passed the House earlier in the evening. The White House announced just before the midnight deadline that President Trump signed the stopgap measure, funding the government for the next 24 hours.

It’s the fourth continuing resolution (CR) Congress has needed this year after initially using a stopgap to fund the government from Oct. 1 to Dec. 11. They then used a second CR to extend it until Dec. 18 and a third to extend it further until the end of Sunday. 

The need for a one-day CR comes as the House is expected to vote on the roughly $2.3 trillion deal, which includes $900 billion for coronavirus relief and $1.4 trillion to fund the government, on Monday. 

A notice from House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) initially had the deal teed up for a vote potentially late into Sunday evening but just before 6 p.m., House Democrats announced the one-day CR would be the only vote of the day. 

“I’m pleased we have reached an agreement on COVID-19 relief and an omnibus, which I expect we’ll pass tomorrow and send to the Senate. In order to provide time to prepare the bill for consideration, the House will meet at 6:30 p.m. to consider a one-day continuing resolution,” Hoyer said in a tweet. 

The deal includes $284 billion for another round of small business aid through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a $300-per-week unemployment benefit for 11 weeks, a pared down $600 second round of stimulus checks, and more money for things like schools, coronavirus testing and vaccine distribution. 

After the agreement passes the House on Monday, it will then go to the Senate where leadership has signaled that they are eager to move it quickly. 

But under Senate rules any one lawmaker could slow down the Senate’s passage, including dragging it out for days. No senator has said they will do so as members are eager to get out of town days before the Christmas holidays. 

Congress could also pass a second longer seven-day CR in order to give leadership time to get the mammoth COVID-spending bill to Trump’s desk and give him time to sign it amid the holiday week. 

The House is expected to tuck the longer CR into its package that governs the debate of the omnibus-coronavirus package. Once the House passes the rules for its debate, the longer, days-long CR will automatically go to the Senate for passage. 

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) indicated earlier that the Senate would pass the second, likely seven-day CR in order to give time for the agreement to be signed into law. 

“Well whatever they send over I assume we will pick it up and transact it,” Thune said about the House plan. “I suppose by the time … we get everything processed and paperwork and enrolled and down to the White House maybe that’s what it takes.” 

— Updated 11:55 p.m. 

Tags coronavirus relief Donald Trump government funding John Thune Steny Hoyer

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