Congress Plans to Punt Government Shutdown Deadline to Dec. 20

November 14, 2019by Erik Wasson
U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON — Congress plans to extend government funding through Dec. 20, averting the risk of a shutdown next week but setting up a potential spending fight amid likely impeachment votes before the end of the year, according to lawmakers and aides.

Democratic House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey and Republican Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby settled on the time frame for the short-term spending measure in a meeting Tuesday.

“It appears that it will be Dec. 20,” Lowey said after the meeting, a date that was later confirmed by two House aides.

The House will vote on the stopgap measure next week before government funding runs out Nov. 21, according to Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 House Democrat.

Lowey and Shelby in recent weeks also discussed an extension into January or beyond, but leaders in both parties wanted a shorter stopgap to keep the pressure on for a full-year spending deal.

The central issue to resolve is President Donald Trump’s request for $9 billion in new border wall funds.

“It always comes up whenever I talk to the president about appropriations,” said Shelby, who met with Trump Saturday in his home state of Alabama.

He said that lawmakers will try to come to an agreement in the coming weeks and present their plan to Trump.

“The important thing is we had a very constructive discussion” Lowey said of Tuesday’s meeting. She said that the impeachment inquiry is “irrelevant” and doesn’t expect it to affect the spending debate at all.

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