With less than two days left on the clock, lawmakers are now discussing the possibility of extending the closing deadline, once again, to allow more time for negotiations to close the deal and push it through the House and Senate. The two issues are linked because leaders want to link the relief deal to a $ 1.4 trillion funding bill to keep the government open until next September.
So, unless things change quickly, final consideration of the massive measure may fall back to the weekend or early next week.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Wednesday that he believes a temporary funding bill to avoid a lockdown known as Continuing Resolution, or CR, may be necessary to buy time to finalize a deal.
“The answer to that is clearly yes .. I do not want to shut down the government,” he said. “If someone asks me, are you going to support a commercial registry, well, what I’m not going to support is a government shutdown.”
The consensus on Capitol Hill is that there will be a relief deal after months of wrangling and stalemate. But Congress is now stuck in a waiting game as the top four congressional leaders and the White House try to compromise on the finer details and compromise on the final details.
Details of what was likely to be in the plan began to emerge on Wednesday, although nothing is final until the legislative text is released.
Once a deal is unveiled, congressional leaders will have to consolidate the ranks and file and move as quickly as possible to bring the legislation into the House of Houses.
Part of the urgency: Georgia’s Senate run-off election in January that will determine the next majority. In a phone call to his conference on Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated several times that the issue of direct payments has become a major issue in racing.
“Kelly and David are being beaten,” McConnell said of his Republican colleagues, Senator Kelly Loeffler and David Purdue.
Opposition from both sides
With both sides acknowledging that something must be passed on, they will almost certainly win the necessary votes to agree to it. But they will face opposition from both sides, and criticism has already begun to flow.
Progressive lawmakers have expressed concern that the scale of stimulus controls will not be large enough.
Senator Bernie Sanders of the Vermont Independent warned in a speech on Wednesday that the emerging agreement will not be sufficient to address the devastating fallout from the pandemic.
“This bill has a lot of good in it, but given the enormity of the crises we face, it simply isn’t going anywhere far enough,” Sanders said.
Earlier Wednesday, Sanders, who was requesting $ 1,200 checks, praised the emerging proposal to include stimulus checks even though it was expected to be less than what he had paid for, but said he would continue to demand more.
It’s also possible that there are concerns from the Republican Party about the price.
Senator Ron Johnson, a Republican from Wisconsin, said “probably” when asked if the amount was overstated.
Republican Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio said, “I’m probably against it.”
If lawmakers pass a temporary bill to prevent the government from shutting down, it will be the second time they do so in a short period of time.