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End-Of-year Stopgap Spending Bill Seems Likely

Congress has a full plate of must-pass legislation coming up

Congress has a full plate of must-pass legislation coming up, including legislation to fund the government and address the debt limit.

Given Democrats’ focus on passing the sweeping $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act, lawmakers are bracing for a busier-than-usual December. At the end of September, Congress narrowly avoided a government shutdown by passing a short-term spending bill to keep the government fully funded through Dec. 3. Since then, appropriators have been trying to reach consensus over the dozen annual bills that dictate federal spending but are nowhere near a deal, meaning another stopgap spending bill is likely.

“We’re in an impasse right now,” said Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “Dec. 3 is coming. I think we’ll either do a short-term maybe up to Christmas and try to get us there and get attention. Or we will lick it on until February.”

Democrats have also not said how they plan to address the debt limit, which has become a politically volatile issue as Republicans blocked initial efforts to raise the debt limit through 2022 and still insist that Democrats should own their own spending agenda and address the debt ceiling in December through the reconciliation process without Republican votes. In October, the House and Senate cleared a short-term increase in the nation’s debt limit, ensuring the federal government can continue paying its bills into December and averting a potential default that would likely have had catastrophic fallout on the economy.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made clear at the time that he and Senate Republicans will not go along with raising the debt limit again in December.

The Treasury Department says it can cover the country’s debts through at least Dec. 3, the same day the government runs out of funding.

This article was provided to OSAP by ASAE's Power of A and Inroads.

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