Congress Mulls Another Funding Extension in Hopes of Finalizing Year-End Spending Package

By Hugh T. Ferguson, NASFAA Staff Reporter 

Congressional leaders are now pitching another short-term continuing resolution to allow negotiations over an overarching spending bill — with pandemic-related aid and additional last minute provisions pitched at the start of the lame duck session — to continue into the weekend.

Last week Congress approved a funding extension in hopes that lawmakers could reach an agreement before a self-imposed December 18 deadline. Even if members were able to strike an agreement before the midnight deadline, the necessary legislative procedures and drafting of the text could easily yield a lapse in funding. Leaders are now aiming to give themselves a few extra days to finalize and implement a year-end package.

While the annual appropriations bills — including the fiscal year 2021 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-H) spending measure, which funds programs housed under the Department of Education — have nearly been finalized, there are still ongoing discussions into how members plan to address pandemic relief. 

Yet some members remain hesitant to approve another extension in hopes that the deadline will help propel a compromise.

Earlier this week a bipartisan group of lawmakers announced an agreement on additional federal relief to combat the coronavirus pandemic. The $748 billion package, the Emergency Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020, contains a number of provisions related to higher education and includes $20 billion for postsecondary institutions and students. 

While that deal has not been endorsed by congressional leadership, the package could serve as a benchmark for how a finalized bill would aim to combat the ongoing economic crisis.

 

Stay tuned to Today’s News for coverage of spending negotiations as they continue to unfold.

 

Publication Date: 12/18/2020


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