Trump signs short-term spending bill to avert shutdown

President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS reimposes UN sanctions on Iran amid increasing tensions Jeff Flake: Republicans 'should hold the same position' on SCOTUS vacancy as 2016 Trump supporters chant 'Fill that seat' at North Carolina rally MORE on Thursday signed a funding stopgap measure just hours ahead of a shutdown deadline, extending funding levels from the last fiscal year until Dec. 20.

The measure, which passed in the Senate earlier Thursday and in the House on Tuesday, bought Congressional negotiators an additional four weeks to hammer out a deal on how to spend the agreed $1.37 trillion for the 2020 fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, and tackle thorny issues including Trump’s request to fund a border wall.

“I am optimistic that the passage of the continuing resolution today is something Congress can build from, a sign that appropriators from both sides of the aisle are ready to work together to settle government funding by the end of the calendar year,” Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerVideo of Lindsey Graham arguing against nominating a Supreme Court justice in an election year goes viral Graham signals support for confirming a Supreme Court nominee this year Pelosi orders Capitol flags at half-staff to honor Ginsburg MORE (D-N.Y.) said Thursday morning.

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But behind the scenes, appropriators are far from sure they will be able to work out a deal in time, with many raising concerns that an additional stopgap measure could be necessary ahead of Christmas.

"Well we have deadlines, and then they come and we create more deadlines," Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbySenate GOP eyes early exit Dems discussing government funding bill into February GOP short of votes on Trump's controversial Fed pick MORE (R-Ala.) said when asked about progress on allocations.

Progress on a deal has been fleeting.

Last week, the White House sent Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinLawmakers fear voter backlash over failure to reach COVID-19 relief deal United Airlines, unions call for six-month extension of government aid House Democrats plan to unveil bill next week to avert shutdown MORE to meet with House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSunday shows preview: Justice Ginsburg dies, sparking partisan battle over vacancy before election Trump is betting big on the suburbs, but his strategy is failing 'bigly' Trump orders flags at half-staff to honor 'trailblazer' Ginsburg MORE (D-Calif.) and Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita LoweyNita Sue LoweyTop House Democrats call for watchdog probe into Pompeo's Jerusalem speech With Biden, advocates sense momentum for lifting abortion funding ban Progressives look to flex their muscle in next Congress after primary wins MORE (D-N.Y.), a signal Democrats saw as a sign they were willing to strike a deal. Mnuchin has in the past played the role of dealmaker in contentious negotiations, including a top-line spending deal agreed to over the summer.

But since then, progress on how to allocate the funds has hit several bumps, complicated by Trump’s demand to include $5 billion in funding for the wall in the Homeland Security bill, and backfill $3.6 billion in military construction accounts he reprogrammed toward the wall using emergency powers.

Democrats also seek to block Trump from continuing to use transfer authority in the current fiscal year.

Lowey insisted on Thursday that she remains, as ever, optimistic

While Democrats have been steadfast in their insistence that none of the funding bills be finalized until there is agreement on all of them, in recent days they have begun warming to the possibility of a so-called “Cromnibus.” This is a package that would combine new funding for most of the government alongside continuing resolutions for the most problematic bills, such as Homeland Security.

“The wall I think is the major impediment. But that’s only one bill: the Department of Homeland Security,” House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHouse Democrats postpone vote on marijuana decriminalization bill Democrats scramble on COVID-19 relief amid division, Trump surprise The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Pence lauds Harris as 'experienced debater'; Trump, Biden diverge over debate prep MORE (D-Md.) noted earlier in the week.

“But it ought not to adversely affect the other 11 bills. They’re being held hostage, essentially,” he added.

Scott Wong contributed to this article