The Senate will meet late Tuesday to consider a bill designed to avoid a government shutdown when the 2021 fiscal year begins Thursday, even as a potentially contentious Supreme Court fight looms in the background and the two main presidential contenders meet for the first debate.
The Republican-dominated Senate is expected to resume consideration of H.R.8337, the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021, born in part of negotiations between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin; the measure passed in the House on a bipartisan 359 to 57 vote and was expected to easily clear the Senate.
Tuesday’s vote would limit debate, according to CNN, and set the stage for a final vote to pass the spending measure Wednesday in the waning hours of a fiscal year that has seen the nation take on trillions of dollars in debt to bail out businesses and consumers as the coronavirus has upended the U.S. economy.
There was speculation in recent weeks that some stimulus measures would be included in the spending bill, but that didn’t happen, with Congress instead splitting the two measures; the spending bill would fund federal operations through December 11, avoiding a pre-Election Day government shutdown, but not forestalling closure during Congress’ lame-duck session.
Meanwhile, the House is prepping a partisan stimulus vote Wednesday.
What To Watch For
The spending vote is scheduled for 5:30p.m. ET.
The Band-Aid spending bill faced several stumbling blocks before passage in the House, according to published reports, including debate over money for the Commodity Credit Corporation Fund to provide help to ailing farmers. Democrats raised concerns that the money was being used by the Trump administration to curry favor in key agricultural regions ahead of the election. The measure also includes nearly $8 billion in nutrition assistance, according to CNN, which was a top Democratic priority during the negotiations.
Republicans Oppose Democrats’ Spending Bill As Government Shutdown Looms (Forbes)
Senate to take procedural vote to advance stopgap spending bill to avert shutdown (CNN)
Democrats Release Smaller $2.2 Trillion Stimulus Proposal In Final Bid For Compromise Before Election Day (Forbes)