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Shutdown Agreement

”We continue to believe that Congress should complete its work by passing comprehensive budget laws by December, which the House has already done,” said Pelosi, D-Calif., adding that lawmakers must continue to work to reach an agreement for a new phase of the coronavirus relief plan ”that meets the health and economic needs of the American people.” Democrats have pinned their hopes on a bipartisan group of lawmakers who have continued to meet to negotiate a deal, but the group has yet to reach a final agreement on the language of its proposal. In contrast, Republican leaders in the Senate and the White House have introduced a new aid proposal that involves $600 stimulus payments, but reduces a boost to federal unemployment benefits. House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin earlier this month reached an informal agreement on a ”clean” resolution — in essence, it agreed to keep an impasse out of negotiations over a new phase of COVID-19 assistance in order to keep government open. The prospect of a government ceasefire was looming Thursday night when Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., threatened to halt the passage of the funding measure because of his objections to provisions in a defense authorizations law. But on Friday morning, Paul lifted his objection and told reporters on Capitol Hill that he would authorize the state funding measure. Congress has several legislative options to avoid a government ceasefire. They could pass what`s called a ”continuous resolution,” in which Congress would choose to fund the government at its current level until a certain date, which would raise more difficult decisions on the other line. A senior Democratic House adviser acknowledged the lack of agreement and warned that the bill could ”get stuck in the Senate” after the House of Representatives passed, creating an impasse until the month-end deadline. Leading Senate Republicans have signaled that the White House will sign an omnibus instead of another resolution that would keep federal funding flat while avoiding a shutdown. But officials` assurances about what President Donald Trump will ultimately support were a bit vague. Both sides should then agree on COVID-19 assistance.

The main hurdles are money for government and local governments, a key element that Democrats have insisted on, and corporate liability protection, which Republicans have called for in any discharge law. While optimism is growing about the passage of the landfill, Democrats and Republicans must reach an agreement quickly so that both chambers can pass legislation before Friday`s deadline expires. Lawmakers are unable to break partisan differences over the provision of public and local assistance, as well as GOP-backed liability protection, which protects businesses from coronavirus-related complaints. McConnell proposed removing both of these issues from final legislation, but Congressional Democrats rejected the idea because it would leave states and cities without adequate support. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin released a proposal earlier this week that contained stimulus controls, but significantly cut unemployment benefit spending proposed by the bipartisan group and was immediately excluded by Democrats. . . .

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