Roundtable Weekly
Policymakers Face Government Funding Deadline as Talks Renew on Pandemic Relief
December 5, 2020

U.S. Capitol Dome with flag

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) today said that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) agreed to aim for combining a pandemic relief package with government funding legislation in an “omnibus” bill that would prevent a partial shutdown later this month. (Politico, Dec. 4)

  • Pelosi referred to the goal for attaching a coronavirus relief measure to the must-pass spending bill, stating, “That would be a hope, because that is the vehicle leaving the station. We would want a big, strong vote.”

  • McConnell commented on his discussion with Pelosi, stating, "… we had a good conversation. I think we're both interested in getting an outcome, both on the omnibus and on a coronavirus package." (NPR, Dec. 4)

  • Negotiations over a COVID-19 stimulus package have been at an impasse for months – House Democrats passed a $2.2 trillion relief bill, Senate Republicans favored a $500 billion measure and the Trump administration offered a ceiling of $1.8 trillion. (Roundtable Weekly, Nov. 6)

  • Congressional leaders renewed discussion this week about pandemic relief after a bipartisan group of Senate and House members proposed a compromise $908 billion package that attracted the support of Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). (BGov, Dec. 3)   

  • The bipartisan stimulus proposal includes $25 billion for “rental assistance,” state and local aid, augmented unemployment insurance benefits, a revival of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and other small business relief, as well as money for vaccine development, supply, and testing and tracing programs. (“What's in the $908 Billion Bipartisan Stimulus Proposal?” by The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Dec. 2) 
  • Pelosi also said, “There is momentum — there is momentum with the action that the senators and House members in a bipartisan way have taken.” (Politico, Dec. 4)

  • President-elect Biden issued a statement today supporting pandemic-related funding. "Any package passed in the lame duck session is not enough," Biden said. "It’s just the start." (The Hill, Dec. 4)

  • Government funding is currently scheduled to expire on Dec. 11. That deadline for combining fiscal 2021 appropriations and a coronavirus relief deal could lead to a one-week stopgap bill, giving lawmakers until Dec. 18 to pass a massive “omnibus” bill before Congress breaks for recess. (CQ, Dec. 4)    

Pelosi today said, "Don't worry about a date. It will be in sufficient time for us to get it done. The sooner the better but not at the expense of the initiatives that we need to address in the bills.” She added, “We'll take the time we need and we must get it done. We cannot leave without it." (CQ and The Hill , Dec. 4)

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