Congress to pass seven-day stopgap to buy time for COVID-19 funding deal

Greg Nash

Congress is poised to pass a seven-day continuing resolution Monday to give lawmakers and the White House time to get a massive year-end deal signed into law.

The House is tucking a seven-day continuing resolution into its rules governing the chamber’s debate over the $2.3 trillion coronavirus-government funding deal. The week-long stopgap bill will automatically pass the House, as part of the chamber’s approval of the rules package, sending the resolution to the Senate.

Both the House and Senate are expected to vote Monday to pass the massive year-end deal, which includes $900 billion in coronavirus relief and $1.4 trillion to fund the government through Oct. 1.

But those votes could drag late into the night, with the Senate likely to go up against the deadline to prevent a government shutdown, with funding poised to run dry at midnight.

Aides are warning that because of the size of the agreement — it’s more than 5,500 pages long — they are likely to miss the shutdown deadline while they print the formal, final copy of the bill and have congressional leaders sign it.

Passing a seven-day resolution would also give Trump flexibility on signing it during a holiday week and take the uncertainty out of government funding in the interim.

Top Republicans have signaled that they expect the Senate to pass the stopgap bill once it’s sent over from the House. The Senate will also hold separate votes on the coronavirus-government funding agreement before midnight.

“Well, whatever they send over, I assume we will pick it up and transact it,” Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, said about the potential for a seven-day bill. “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.”

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told reporters that he expects the Senate to pass the continuing resolution and then vote on the larger agreement around 10:30 p.m.

“It sounds like they’re going to be voting early evening and we’re sometime in the 10:30 time range,” he said.

Tags John Cornyn John Thune

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