President Donald Trump has signed off on the one-day extension to government funding passed by Congress earlier on Sunday night, preventing a partial government shutdown as lawmakers push through the final steps to pass a COVID-19 aid bill on Monday.
The Senate passed the stopgap funding bill hours after the House announced that it had passed the measure to temporarily extend funding. The legislation now ensures funding for the government past midnight.
The extension to temporary funding is needed to avoid disruptions after negotiations on a CCP virus relief package did not proceed as smoothly as intended. Despite the roadblocks, congressional leaders announced that a $900 billion deal had finally been made.
“Congress has just reached an agreement. We will pass another rescue package ASAP. More help is on the way,” Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced on Twitter. “As the American people continue battling the coronavirus this holiday season, they will not be on their own.”
A fight over Federal Reserve emergency powers was resolved Saturday night by the Senate’s top Democrat, Chuck Schumer of New York, and conservative Republican Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. That breakthrough led to a final round of negotiations on Sunday.
House leaders informed lawmakers that the vote on the legislation will be held on Monday, and the Senate was likely to vote on Monday, too.
The agreement was reached a day after Trump questioned the progress of the negotiations, calling on Congress to send people stimulus checks amid the pandemic caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, also known as coronavirus.
“Why isn’t Congress giving our people a Stimulus Bill?” the president asked on Dec. 19. “It wasn’t their fault, it was the fault of China,” he added, referring to the CCP virus. “GET IT DONE, and give them more money in direct payments.”
Lawmakers are also expected to unveil an appropriations bill on Monday that hopes to secure government funding until September 2021. It includes non-COVID measures such as taxes, health, infrastructure, and education.
The $900 billion in COVID-19 relief could be passed separately or as part of the larger appropriations bill. The relief package would give $600 direct payments to individuals and boost unemployment payments by $300 a week. It is also expected to provide billions to small businesses, food assistance, and healthcare. Meanwhile, the measure will also extend a moratorium on foreclosures and provide $25 billion in rental aid.
The relief bill leaves out two of the most contentious elements in the negotiations: legal protections for businesses from coronavirus lawsuits, which had been sought by Republicans, and the substantial aid for state and local governments advocated by Democrats.
But the package helps state and local governments indirectly by providing billions for schools, CCP virus testing, and other expenses, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said.
Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.