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House passes bill to avert a government shutdown for one more week; bill goes to Senate

House passes bill to avert a government shutdown for one more week; bill goes to Senate


House passes bill to avert a government shutdown for one more week; bill goes to Senate

Christal Hayes
Schumer: McConnell ‘sabotaging’ COVID relief talksSenate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is accusing his GOP counterpart, Sen. Mitch McConnell, of “sabotaging” efforts by a group of moderate senators negotiating provisions of a COVID-19 relief bill. (Dec. 8)WASHINGTON – The House on Wednesday passed a bill allowing the federal government to remain open for one more week as lawmakers scramble to come to a bipartisan deal on government spending. The bill, which passed by a 343-67 vote, punts a potential government shutdown, which was set to occur Friday, to next week. The legislation will head to the Senate. Then, if approved, will go to President Donald Trump for his signature. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the chamber planned to take up the bill soon after it was approved by the House.Congressional leaders have continued to meet in hopes of reaching a compromise on some of the biggest sticking points in the budget. As in years past, immigration-related issues, including funding for a wall along the U.S. southern border and immigrant detention beds for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, are at the center of the dispute.Another hurdle is a Democratic hope to incorporate language on police reform after a summer of protests over systemic racism and the killing of unarmed Black people, including George Floyd in Minneapolis. Lawmakers lamented the use of a short-term fix rather than a comprehensive budget compromise. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., called the measure “an admission of failure,” and Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, said in a statement “there is little reason to applaud today’s vote on a continuing resolution,” calling it the “bare minimum” to keep the government open. More: Congress faces a government shutdown if a spending deal isn’t reached this weekHow even a partial government shutdown could affect youWith the partial government shutdown stretching into 2019, here’s what you need to know about the effects.While both sides of the aisle have promised a deal to avoid government funds running dry, shutdowns haven’t been rare over the last several years. Since Trump took office, the government has shut down three times, including for 35 days in 2018 – the longest-ever shutdown in modern U.S. history. It stemmed from a standoff between Congress and the White House over funding for a wall along the southern U.S. border. But the quarrel forced about 800,000 federal government workers to be furloughed or go without pay.If Congress and the White House aren’t able to come to an agreement, thousands of government workers considered nonessential would again be furloughed or forced to work without pay until the shutdown ends. A shutdown right now could have ripple effects unlike what Americans have seen in previous years, affecting everything from government health agencies handling the coronavirus pandemic to air travel.  McConnell pushes ‘non-controversial’ COVID reliefSenate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is suggesting that lawmakers pass COVID relief legislation with controversial issues, such as aid to state and local government’s and liability protections, left out until Congress returns next month. (Dec. 8)National parks may close, airport operations could slow and the paralysis could affect the economy, which has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated tax revenue was down $2 billion in 2019 because the IRS had halted some operations during the 2018 shutdown.  More: Competing COVID-19 relief proposals introduced as Congress sprints to pass aidAlong with coming to a deal on a spending bill, lawmakers have been negotiating a potential compromise on coronavirus relief – something they’ve been unable to make a deal on for months. Congress hopes to pass potentially billions for critical programs, many that have expired or are readying to cease at the end of the year, as part of the spending bill. While there is optimism, and a bipartisan group of lawmakers have continued meeting to negotiate a deal, time is short and hurdles remain. The biggest sticking points so far have been liability protections for businesses, a key provision Republicans wanted to be part of any deal, and funds for state and local governments, money that Democrats say is crucial. Another round of stimulus checks has also emerged as another key item dividing lawmakers, as the most recent proposals being examined by lawmakers do not include another round of $1,200 checks.Contributing: Nicholas Wu 

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