Democrats file two-day extension to avoid shutdown

Bonnie Cash

House Democrats on Friday filed a two-day continuing resolution (CR) to prevent a government shutdown come midnight.

The bill would put off the deadline for both an omnibus bill to fund the government through fiscal 2021, and the $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill that is supposed to pass alongside it.

“The American people urgently need coronavirus relief and this short stopgap bill will allow bipartisan, bicameral negotiators to complete their work on this important issue,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.).

“I look forward to swiftly passing omnibus appropriations and coronavirus relief legislation through the House as soon as possible,” she added.

The House is expected to take up the legislation by unanimous consent Friday evening. Senate Republicans are also hoping to approve it through unanimous consent.

Many of the major issues in the COVID-19 bill have been worked out, paving the way for Congress to extend expiring unemployment benefits, renew aid to small businesses and send out another round of stimulus checks.

But sharp disagreements over whether to extend or block emergency lending facilities from the Federal Reserve have proven a hard sticking point, delaying agreement on a final deal.

Democrats say blocking the facilities would kneecap the recovery and hamstring the incoming Biden administration, while Republicans say the facilities would provide a loophole to circumvent Congress on issues such as state and local aid.

Jordain Carney contributed.

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