Congress is still working on a new COVID relief bill and it is stalling efforts to reach a funding bill (https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/17/politics/stimulus-negotiations-congress-latest/index.html). If Congress is unable to reach an agreement then the government will be shut down for the third time under the Trump Administration. The funding bill deadline was already extended to December 18th last week, but it could be pushed back further if necessary.
Congress has been working for months to pass a new relief bill but nothing has been finalized yet. They are currently sitting on a $900 billion deal and have generally come to an agreement. Both parties are now waiting on the congressional leaders and the White House to conclude the final deliberations and handle the finer details. Included in the proposed bill is funding for vaccine distribution, unemployment benefits, another round of stimulus checks, and small business loans.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said, "The answer to that is clearly yes ... I don't want to shut down the government. If somebody asked me, would you support a CR, well, what I won't support is shutting down the government." If passed, the projected spending bill will total $1.4 trillion. This would keep the government open through next September. Depending on the makeup of the government in September we may see a smoother funding process, but that depends on the upcoming Georgia Senate races and the future of the pandemic.
These two issues have been a constant source for news on this blog, with COVID relief taking up at least 10 posts since we began writing in April, and government shutdowns getting a handful of mentions as well. The key theme with both is rampant government spending. Will the COVID-19 pandemic serve as a ratchet effect, permanently expanding government purview, or can it be reigned back in once everything returns to “normal”?
Image Credit: Reuters