By Hugh T. Ferguson, NASFAA Staff Reporter
House leaders have formally unveiled a continuing resolution (CR) that would stave off a government shutdown slated to take place at the end of the month should congressional leaders not meet the September 30 spending deadline.
The measure funds federal agencies and programs run by the Department of Education (ED) through December 11 and also includes a variety of anomalies related to coronavirus aid. The House earlier this summer advanced its fiscal year 2021 spending bills, including one that would fund Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-H).
While the measure contains a number of funding extensions and aims to provide minor relief for the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, negotiations over a larger aid package remain ongoing — though it is uncertain whether additional aid will be administered before the presidential election. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has said it was her intention to keep the negotiations over additional aid and government spending separate.
“While the House did its job and passed bills funding nearly every government agency, Senate Republicans did not even begin the appropriations process. Because of their irresponsibility, a continuing resolution is sadly necessary,” said Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee. “This clean continuing resolution keeps government open while giving Congress additional time to negotiate annual appropriations bills that will invest for the people.”
The House aims to use the time offered by the extension to wrap up allocations for the 2021 fiscal year.
“The Continuing Resolution introduced today will avert a catastrophic shutdown in the middle of the ongoing pandemic, wildfires and hurricanes, and keep government open until December 11, when we plan to have bipartisan legislation to fund the government for this fiscal year.” Pelosi said. “We continue to believe that the Congress should complete its work by passing full appropriations bills by December, which the House has already done. We must continue to work to reach agreement on a coronavirus relief package that meets the health and economic needs of the American people.”
House leaders plan to consider the measure this week. Should the CR garner broad bipartisan support, it could be taken up and cleared by the Senate in short order thereafter.
However, at the outset of the measure’s unveiling Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) panned the bill for its exclusion of an agricultural provision.
“House Democrats’ rough draft of a government funding bill shamefully leaves out key relief and support that American farmers need,” McConnell said. “This is no time to add insult to injury and defund help for farmers and rural America.”
Lawmakers have a little more than one week to settle their differences on a spending measure to prevent a government shutdown.
Publication Date: 9/21/2020
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