Congress has approved and President Donald Trump signed a stopgap funding measure to keep the federal government—including its construction programs—operating through Dec. 18.
The continuing resolution, or CR, received final congressional clearance on Dec. 11, when the US Senate passed it on a voice vote. Trump signed the measure several hours after the Senate vote. The new stopgap succeeds an earlier CR, which was due to expire at midnight on that date.
The House had approved the legislation on Dec. 9, on a 343-67 vote.
Under the new extension, funding will continue generally at fiscal 2020 levels.
The CR also will provide congressional leaders additional time to continue negotiations on an omnibus appropriations bill that would fund federal agencies through Sept. 30, when the 2021 fiscal year ends.
In addition, the CR will provide seven more days for lawmakers negotiating a possible package of coronavirus relief and economic stimulus provisions. The omnibus spending bill and coronavirus assistance measure could be combined into a big package.
But party leaders in the Senate continue to blast each other, contending that their dueling positions are blocking the aid package.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), in a Dec. 11 statement blamed Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for holding up the legislation.
Schumer cited McConnell’s strong advocacy of company liability protections for coronavirus-related claims.
McConnell did offer to drop the liability shield if Democrats dropped their push for financial assistance for state and local governments.
He said in a Senate floor statement that Democrats’ “demands for state and local government giveaways are blocking urgent aid for struggling families at a time when many states’ tax revenues are largely gone up.”