What We’re Watching in Congress: Winter 2020

As the end of the year and the close of the 116th Congress are quickly approaching—and COVID-19 cases surge across the country—Congress has a number of priorities to attend to before heading home for the holidays. Here are a few things we’ll be keeping an eye on:

Government funding set to expire December 11:

Following a bipartisan agreement on a Continuing Resolution in the Fall, which delayed the deadline for finalizing Fiscal Year 2021 spending decisions until mid-December, Congress must pass a new funding bill to avert a shutdown. Senate appropriators released the text of their 12-bill spending package earlier this week and House and Senate negotiators hope to reach an agreement on topline spending numbers soon. While the House passed many of their own appropriations measures earlier this spring, top appropriators from both chambers remain far apart on a number of issues. Additionally, while House Democratic leadership has pushed for inclusion of increased emergency spending to cope with the health and economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, Senate Republicans and White House representatives have not been receptive. Still, all parties have signaled their intent to pass an omnibus spending package before the December deadline, averting the need for an additional CR and avoiding a government shutdown. 1,000 Days continues to push for the inclusion of a number of key priorities, including vital global nutrition aid to prevent millions of children from going hungry as longtime food security projects are interrupted by the pandemic.

Still no agreement on additional COVID-19 aid:

Despite the House once again voting to advance their proposed emergency spending package, a slimmed-down version of the earlier HEROES Act, House, Senate and White House negotiators have been unable to reach an agreement on supplemental coronavirus aid. In the time since Congress last enacted an emergency spending bill this Spring, millions of Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, millions more have lost their jobs or access to vital social safety net services, and the national death toll has topped 250,000. And yet, there has been minimal progress towards a bipartisan agreement. 1,000 Days remains in close contact with coalition partners and allies on the Hill, working to fund vital health and nutrition services and to expand the emergency paid leave provisions set to expire at the end of next month. We will continue to encourage key negotiators to prioritize the well-being of moms, babies and their families as they work towards consensus on this important legislation.