2020 may have been a chaotic year, but a government shutdown won’t be adding to the turbulence.
The government will remain open until December at least after the Republican-led Senate voted to pass a stopgap spending bill that President Donald Trump signed into law just after funding ran out, according to the Washington Examiner.
Trump signs bill to avoid shutdown
The Senate passed a continuing resolution Wednesday to fund the government until Dec. 11 in an 84–10 vote, the Washington Examiner reported. The House passed the bill last week.
Trump, for his part, signed the stopgap measure into law after midnight Thursday, Oct. 1, just past the deadline after flying back from a Minnesota rally, as the Associated Press reported. According to The New York Times, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) told federal agencies “to not engage in orderly shutdown activities,” as a new fiscal year began.
According to the Washington Examiner, the continuing resolution keeps funding at current levels and includes $8 billion for nutrition assistance, as well as funding for a transition in case Joe Biden wins the presidency. But the stopgap leaves much unresolved. Congress still has to hash out permanent spending bills for the Fiscal Year 2021, or else pass another stopgap when the current measure expires, Fox News notes.
According to a report from Pew Research Center, it has become more common over the years for Congress to rely on continuing resolutions to keep the government open until full spending bills can be passed.
Disagreements on spending in 2018 led to the longest government shutdown in American history, after Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) were unable to settle differences on funding for Trump’s border wall.
No stimulus deal in sight
Although the government remains open for now, a shutdown is certainly possible after the election.
In the meantime, the stopgap bill’s smooth passage contrasts with intractable talks over coronavirus stimulus funding that don’t seem likely to resolve before Nov. 3, with Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin struggling to work out a deal, according to Fox.
Many Americans continue to struggle financially through the economic fallout of the pandemic, and benefits from a previous stimulus bill have expired.
Pelosi and her fellow Democrats are expected to vote Thursday on a new $2.2 trillion bill, which is less than their original more-than $3 trillion offer, although hopes of actually passing a stimulus through Congress are dim.
“We’re at the table discussing how we go forward with a possible COVID bill,” Pelosi said Thursday, according to Fox. “We’re hopeful that we can reach [an] agreement because the needs of the American people are so great.”