Congressional Leaders Aim to Extend Funding Deadline as Shutdown Looms

By Hugh T. Ferguson, NASFAA Staff Reporter

Unable to reach an agreement over a massive appropriations bill and additional aid to address the ongoing pandemic, congressional leaders now plan to consider a short-term extension of the upcoming government funding deadline in an attempt to hash out a last minute deal.

The measure, passed by the House and awaiting the Senate’s expected action, would extend the funding deadline through December 18, at which time Congress will need to consider another package that must include the fiscal year 2021 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-H), a version of which passed the House, and funds programs housed under the Department of Education (ED).

Congress’ consideration of the week-long extension merely buys leaders additional time to sort through a litany of policy riders, many of which have kept negotiations into additional coronavirus relief at a standstill since early this summer and has so far been a futile effort for the lame duck session. 

Should negotiations continue to stall it is likely that Congress will attempt to pass a longer short term funding bill to take negotiations into the new year and be considered at the outset of president-elect Joe Biden’s administration.

In terms of coronavirus relief — which could be tacked onto a spending package — NASFAA has called on Congress to extend the current suspension of monthly payments and interest accrual for all federal student loans until the federal government formally declares an end to the pandemic, whichever occurs later. Additionally NASFAA has joined the higher education community in calling for $120 billion in pandemic relief for higher education.

For more information on the federal budget process, see NASFAA’s Federal Budget and Appropriations page and NASFAA’s budget FAQs.


Publication Date: 12/10/2020

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