ONE-WEEK STOP GAP NECESSARY TO FINALIZE APPROPRIATIONS
The new deadline for agreeing to a catch-all FY’21 appropriations measure is December 18th as the Senate is expected to follow the House’s lead and extend the current Continuing Resolution for one week. House-Senate negotiators are said to be very, very close to a final spending deal. If that happens, there will be essentially 8 months of “regular” activity as it takes a little while after a bill is signed for every spending account to be funded. Work on a stimulus measure, however, is not as far-along. It is notable that senior House and Senate leaders have not met directly, or even virtually, with each other to discuss the latest proposals. This is widely believed to be a necessary step before a final stimulus is passed. While media reports would leave listeners believing that such a package is a “done deal”, it is not and it is far from certain whether a stimulus package will be passed at all in 2020. Importantly, no vetoes or shut-downs are being discussed. The White House has been largely silent, at least in public, on both measures, while Congressional leaders conduct what could best be described as “customary” negotiations. These measures will likely be the last ones passed by the current Congress. The new 117th Congress starts in January with a tighter House and a Senate where party control will not be known until after the January 5th Georgia run-offs.