Things in Congress are getting a little extra heated on Friday as the government prepares for a potential — and temporary — shutdown after Republicans and Democrats continue to stall in negotiations on hammering out a second COVID-19 relief bill that many believe would be tied to the massive omnibus government spending bill.
According to Fox News, the two sides are sprinting in an attempt to get everything wrapped up before the weekend, but as of this writing, it doesn’t look promising.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made crystal clear that members of the upper chamber should prepare to “likely” work through the weekend in order to wrap things up and make sure the government doesn’t remain in shutdown mode any longer than absolutely necessary.
“We’re going to stay right here until we are finished, even if that means working through the weekend, which is highly likely,” McConnell said Thursday. “And if we need to further extend the Friday funding deadline before final legislation can pass in both chambers, I hope we will extend it for a very, very short window of time.”
It’s not all doom and gloom, however. McConnell expressed his confidence in getting the bipartisan, $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill passed sooner than later. The Kentucky senator added that he believes that Congress will need to pass a continuing resolution to keep the government from shutting down.
A continuing resolution might not be as easy as it usually is to come by, as Sen. John Thune indicated that some of his colleagues might not vote in favor of one until a solid deal is struck on a COVID-19 relief bill by close of business on Friday.
“If it’s for a very short amount of time on a weekend, hopefully it’s not going to be something that would be all that harmful,” Thune said. “The preferable route is to keep the government open and get this done and get it done quickly.”
A continuing resolution, if passed, would mark the third such measure of 2020. Congress passed one that funded the government between Oct. 1 and Dec. 11 and a second one that extended the deadline to December 18, Friday, if more time was needed.
Several issues apparently still need to be hammered out between the parties on the COVID-19 relief bill, with one of the key arguments being how to structure the second round of stimulus checks — which have been a major point of contention throughout the process.
Hopefully, Congress will soon remember that we elect them and pay them to do one job — and it’s time to stop screwing around and get the job done. There’s just no reason why the U.S. government has to be shut down at this point.