Congress is working to extend government funding for one week in order to continue talks on a government spending bill and a coronavirus relief package.
Congress, and the U.S. government in general, is starting to feel the pressure as the coronavirus pandemic continues to beat down on U.S. residents. State lawmakers are also watching as their budgets are being dramatically cut as the pandemic continues to get worse in the U.S.
The House of Representative is scheduled to meet Wednesday on a short term bill that will keep the government functioning through Dec. 18. However, if the government doesn’t agree to a spending bill by Saturday, the government will shut down, putting even more Americans out of work.
The one week extension, which was first reported by Politico, will buy Congress time to come together on a coronavirus relief package and a spending package, two things both sides of the government haven’t been able to agree on in months.
Despite Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin resuming talks on a relief package, they represent their party’s opposing feelings on a package. Republicans have been trying to keep any relief bill under $1 trillion citing the federal debt and a belief that a package that’s too good would keep Americans from returning to work.
Democrats meanwhile, want a larger package like the $3 trillion relief package that the House passed in May. Pelosi and Mnuchin have worked on certain aspects of the next bill, but have yet to budge from their financial positions.
That has led to a group of Senate and House Lawmakers to come together on a $908 billion relief package. President-elect Joe Biden urged the government to pass the bill adding that another will be needed after he’s sworn in as president.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shot the bill down hours after lawmakers unveiled it, touting his idea for a piecemeal bill. The Kentucky Republican added the looming shutdown will provide pressure to get deals done.
“We just don’t have time to waste time,” McConnell told reporters according to CNBC and added he believes the looming shutdown in 10 days will lead to a spending bill and a relief package will “all likely come in one package.”
Senator Bill Cassidy (R-La.) added state and local funding and liability from coronavirus-related lawsuits remain the two sticking points in talks of a relief package.
Still, Cassidy believes the bill will eventually signed into law.
“I think in some way this package passes,” Cassidy said on Squawk Box.