It’s the 11th hour for Congress to strike a deal on COVID-19 relief and federal funding before the holiday recess. The current continuing resolution (CR) for Fiscal Year 2021 funding expires tonight at midnight, but Congressional leaders vowed that they wouldn’t leave town before there is a deal on both. These two large items will be pared together in one large package. It seems likely that a short-term (maybe through the weekend) shutdown will occur.
The stumbling block appears to be—as it has for months—the COVID-19 relief package. A former deal to separate additional funding for state and local governments and liability protections for businesses—the previous major stumbling blocks—did not seem to bring about a resolution. This COVID-19 relief bill is expected to include $600 in payments for individuals, $300-per-week in supplemental unemployment insurance payments and aid for small businesses, as well as about $17 billion for airlines. One of the primary obstacles to finishing the coronavirus bill is a Federal Reserve emergency lending program that Republicans want shut down. However, Democrats want to keep it online for incoming President Joe Biden to use.
Stay tuned—work will continue through the weekend.