Still waiting on a spending deal

We have been anxiously anticipating Dec. 11 to see what the final fiscal year 2021 Congressional spending package looks like, but it seems we are all going to have to wait at least one week longer.

The House and Senate have now passed a one week continuing resolution to keep the federal government running for now, pending the signature of President Trump.

Meanwhile, Republican and Democratic leaders continue to try and work out a deal for FY21 appropriations as well as a long overdue COVID-19 stimulus package that seems to become less likely to succeed with each passing day.

It now seems that a completed FY 2021 omnibus is more likely than a COVID-19 relief package. Currently, the key sticking points for FY 2021 spending are familiar ones. Some of these sticking points revolve around border wall funding and homeland security. Others involve language changes and provisions in the Justice Department spending bill around racial justice and police reform, specifically in regards to chokehold bans and racial profiling.

Leaders from both parties have said that the distance between them has narrowed in recent days, and we expect them to be able to compromise on these issues sooner rather than later.

Progress on COVID-19 relief, on the other hand, remains a struggle. One of the areas of disagreement concerns liability protections for businesses who put workers and consumers in harm’s way. Another is funding for state and local governments who are now strapped for cash following their COVID-19 response. Senate Republicans are hesitant to put more money into state and local governments, but without this funding, it is likely that many state and local governments will be forced to make harsh cuts.

Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader McConnell stated that recent bipartisan attempts to combine $160 billion for state and local support with temporary liability protections are unlikely to gain support from most Senate Republicans, putting a halt to momentum behind the recently proposed $908 billion compromise bill.

We will continue to monitor developments regarding FY 2021 spending packages as well as COVID-19 relief as they happen.