With Government Shutdown Looming, House Dems Bring Forward Continuing Resolution

December 8, 2020 by Dan McCue
Inaugural preparations underway at the U.S. Capitol, Nov. 12, 2020. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON – In what is probably one of her last acts as a member of Congress, retiring House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., introduced a continuing resolution to extend federal government funding through Dec. 18.

Widely expected, the move is intended to keep the government open after the current stopgap funding measure expires on Friday, so that lawmakers can put the finishing touches on both a spending plan and the latest iteration of coronavirus relief legislation.

“With a government shutdown deadline just days away, this continuing resolution is necessary to keep the government open as we work to complete the appropriations process and deliver meaningful coronavirus relief to the American people,” Lowey said.

“As we enact this temporary extension, we will continue to negotiate in good faith to complete our important work this month,” she said.

In addition to a funding extension, the legislation includes a one-week extension of certain health care programs.

House Democratic leaders initially hoped to wrap up work on an all-encompassing spending package, coronavirus economic relief and an annual defense policy bill by Friday.

That way they could send members home in time to quarantine for two weeks before spending Christmas with their families.

But Senators were always a bit less optimistic about that timeline and last minute snags doomed the hope of progressing so quickly.

In the end, as Lowey suggested, negotiators simply need more time to get the complex bills down.

That means members, many of them concerned about staying in town during a regional surge in COVID-19 cases, will need to hang on in Washington until their votes are needed.

Helping to stoke their concerns is the fact three House members tested positive for COVID-19 last week alone.

Further The Hill reports that of the 35 lawmakers who have tested positive since March, about 40% have been within the last month.

The House is slated to vote on the continuing resolution on Wednesday. The text of the legislation introduced today, H.R. 8900, is available here.

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