Congress returns with virus aid, federal funding unresolved
Added 11-30-20 01:35:02am EST - “After months of shadowboxing amid a tense and toxic campaign, Capitol Hill's main players are returning for one final, perhaps futile, attempt at deal-making on a challenging menu of year-end business.” - Washingtontimes.com
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WASHINGTON (AP) - After months of shadowboxing amid a tense and toxic campaign, Capitol Hill’s main players are returning for one final, perhaps futile, attempt at deal-making on a challenging menu of year-end business.
COVID-19 relief, a $1.4 trillion catchall spending package, and defense policy - and a final burst of judicial nominees - dominate a truncated two- or three-week session occurring as the coronavirus pandemic rockets out of control in President Donald Trump‘s final weeks in office.
The only absolute must-do business is preventing a government shutdown when a temporary spending bill expires on Dec. 11. The route preferred by top lawmakers like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is to agree upon and pass an omnibus spending bill for the government. But it may be difficult to overcome bitter divisions regarding a long-delayed COVID relief package that’s a top priority of business, state and local governments, educators and others.
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Time is working against lawmakers as well, as is the Capitol’s emerging status as a COVID hotspot. The House has truncated its schedule and Senate Republicans are joining Democrats in forgoing the in-person lunch meetings that usually anchor their workweeks. It’ll take serious, good-faith conversations among top players to determine what’s possible, but those haven’t transpired yet.
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