US House to vote on stopgap funding bill to avoid gov’t shutdown

The US House of Representative will vote on a one-week stopgap funding bill on Wednesday to avoid a federal government shutdown and provide more time for lawmakers to negotiate a deal in COVID-19 relief and government funding, a top House Democrat said.

“I am disappointed that we have not yet reached agreement on government funding. The House will vote on Wednesday on a one-week CR to keep government open while negotiations continue,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said on the Twitter, referring to a stopgap funding measure known as a continuing resolution, Xinhua news agency reported on Monday.

Current funding for federal government agencies is set to expire on Friday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have recently said that they want to attach a long-awaited COVID-19 relief legislation to an omnibus funding bill, which will keep the government open while providing targeted relief to households and businesses.

“The Senate knows all about end-of-year drama, but this time the stakes could not be higher. Americans are struggling under the weight of this pandemic. Democrats need to let Congress do our job & pass more relief,” McConnell tweeted on Monday.

“We have so much common ground. Let’s make law. Let’s get it done,” McConnell said.

Despite of a surge in Covid-19 cases across the country, Democratic and Republican lawmakers have been deadlocked for months over the size and scope of the next round of fiscal support.

Without a new relief package, many Americans will soon lose their unemployment benefits and begin to face hardships like eviction and foreclosure by the end of the year.

In a letter to Congress on Monday, the US Chamber of Commerce warned that failure to enact a meaningful pandemic package “risks a double-dip recession that will permanently shutter small businesses across the nation and leave millions of Americans with no means to support themselves and their families”.