The deadline for Congress avoiding a government shut down was yesterday.
There was talk that some Democrats would not allow an extension of the government spending deadline to avoid the shut down in order to put pressure on Republicans to act swiftly.
But lawmakers have approved a two day spending bill which will allow them to work through the weekend without dealing with the government shut down.
President Trump signed the bill late last night so now the new deadline will be Sunday night.
The top leaders involved in negotiations continue to state that they are very close to closing a deal.
“We’ve been close for a while now. And we still are,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
But there is a lot of frustration from lawmakers who are not involved in the day-to-day negotiations.
“This is ridiculous,” said Democratic Rep. Jahana Hayes of Connecticut.
“We should have a deal — we should’ve had a deal a long time ago. It’s unconscionable that we’re even here the weekend before Christmas.”
Some lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are still making a push for $1200 stimulus checks but yesterday a GOP senator intervened to block the vote.
So it is looking very likely that the new stimulus checks will be limited to $600 per person (although dependents can still get an allowance).
This means that the two major issues are the emergency funding to states and an issue with the Federal Reserve.
The emergency funding to states is a problem because some lawmakers feel like it is a backdoor method to getting aid to local and state governments which of course Democrats gave up in negotiations.
The issue with the Federal Reserve is a little bit more complicated.
It has to do with credit facilities that were launched in the spring in response to the pandemic that allowed it to buy corporate bonds and lend to state and local governments as well as midsize companies.
But it doesn’t appear that this program was actually used much and that it had much impact.
It’s also not clear that there are short term implications of this issue so it is more of a long-term battle but it sort of came out of nowhere and is now one of the major reasons why negotiations are stalling.
The new deadline will be midnight on Sunday and it is expected that a vote will take place on Sunday afternoon.
So hopefully sometime tomorrow you will have a clearer picture of what to expect with the next relief package.
I’ll keep you updated!
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