Hours before the funding was set to lapse, President Donald Trump signed a law, a short-term government bill in order to avoid a government shutdown late on Friday, buying lawmakers a few more days of negotiations as talks in Congress regarding the COVID-19 stimulus bill extended over the weekend.
On Friday afternoon, House Democrats passed legislation to fund the government for two days with a 320-60 vote, which sent the bill over to the Senate, which then was passed unanimously.
Lawmakers faced a Friday night shutdown deadline as they are trying to finish negotiations on both a stimulus deal and a larger government funding package, but Trump saved the package after signing the move.
Steny Hoyer, D-Md., House Majority Leader, shared on the House floor following the vote that he was hopeful a deal was possible, though there were significant issues outstanding as stimulus negotiations continued, USA Today reported.
He also mentioned to the lawmakers that the earliest the House could vote on any stimulus legislation if a deal were to emerge would be 1:00 p.m. EST on Sunday.
He also shared with the reporters that when there is a deal, it will take some time to put the paper together.
After months of impasse, Democrats and Republicans have remained optimistic that a stimulus check and funding deal could be achieved this week, as Congressional leaders have been holding meetings on a daily basis to negotiate an agreement in restoring the lapsed benefits, provide funds for vaccine distribution and development, and sent out another round of stimulus checks to Americans who are still due to the effects brought by the pandemic.
However, as debates flared over restrictions on Federal Reserve lending authority, and negotiations dragged on, a deal remains elusive.
According to CBS News, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., shared on the Senate floor Friday evening that they have not yet reached an agreement, regretfully.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., shared on the Senate floor Friday evening that they have not yet reached an agreement, regretfully.
When asked regarding the possibility of a Friday deal, Senator John Thune, R-S.D., who is also the second-ranking Senate Republican, shared to the reporters that it would be a triumph of hope over experience in order for that to happen.
Lawmakers are currently hoping that they can attach any stimulus legislation to comprehensive government funding legislation, which will be most likely the last major bill that will be passed by the Congress this year.
The Government funding was set to lapse last Friday, however, Congress passed a short-term bill that extended the funding for a week in order to give extra time for the lawmakers to finalize the anticipated stimulus check, The Chicago Tribune reported.
Cindy Axne, the representative from Iowa, lamented the continuing impasse and mentioned that in a statement, the short-term funding bill should not allow us to think that they can continue to delay before the deal will be finalized, as the time for this agreement was months ago.
Related article: Top Democrats and Republicans to Reach a New Stimulus Deal This Week