Government shutdown season is upon us once again, and as usual, a stopgap funding bill was signed just in time to keep the federal government open through Dec. 11. Government funding had actually run out as the clock struck midnight on Oct. 1. The bill maintains current funding levels for most programs and avoids the inconvenience of a pesky government shutdown just weeks before the Nov. 3 election, and in the middle of a global pandemic.
President Trump’s signature on the bill will now allow lawmakers to have more time to work out budget details for the fiscal year that ends on September 30, 2021. Those budget details include healthcare, military operations, national parks, airport and border security and the space program. The numbers appropriated for each line item will be heavily influenced by who wins the presidential election.
We’re not financially in the clear for the rest of the year though, for the government to remain funded past December 11, lawmakers will need to approve another continuing resolution or reach an agreement on 12 appropriation bills for fiscal year 2021.
Congress will now move toward passing major legislation, including a possible coronavirus relief bill before the election. The chances of that bill actually coming to fruition appear to be pretty slim, as the two sides seem to be more than a socially-distanced approved 6-feet apart on any agreement.
“I think it’s safe to say we’re far apart,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters, adding, “We are very, very far apart.”