New stopgap bill expected to keep government open through Dec. 20

U.S. Capitol (Photo by M DOGAN / Shutterstock) 

Congress appears poised to pass a continuing resolution funding the government through Dec. 20 to avoid a government shutdown ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

The news followed a meeting between chairs of the House and Senate appropriations committees held in the early evening on Nov. 12.

Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), the chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, told reporters that members of Congress "expect to get our work done" before the Dec. 20 continuing resolution expires.

Her Senate counterpart, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), said that lawmakers are "very close" to agreement on allocations for distributing the $1.37 billion in discretionary spending allowed under the bipartisan budget agreement across the 12 individual appropriations bills.

House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) announced plans last week to vote on a second continuing resolution to push the deadline for a shutdown to Dec. 20.

In comments to reporters, Shelby indicated it was possible to work out final fiscal year 2020 funding before the end of the year. Earlier, he had suggested a stopgap funding measure might have to extend into next March.

The Democratic-controlled House has passed 10 of its full slate of 12 funding bills. The situation is more complicated in the Republican-led Senate, where 60 votes are needed to move legislation. The full Senate already passed appropriations bills funding civilian agencies, including the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice and Transportation. Defense funding, however, remains stalled over the issue of backfilling funds that were reallocated by presidential decree to support building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Disagreements over wall funding are also dividing Senate Republicans and Democrats on allocations for Homeland Security as well as Veterans Affairs and Military Construction.

The Trump administration is seeking $8.6 billion for the wall project. House Democrats advanced their funding bills with no funding for the wall and with no provisions to backfill funding from defense and military construction budgets that were steered into wall construction in fiscal year 2019.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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