House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill on Friday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill on Friday. Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

Congress to Push Spending Measure to Avert Shutdown Through Dec. 11

Current funding is set to expire Sept. 30.

House Democrats are preparing to vote on a six-week stopgap spending bill that would keep agencies open through Dec. 11, according to Democratic aide.  

Lawmakers have less than two weeks to pass a continuing resolution to avoid a shutdown at the end of the month. The House is preparing for a vote on such a measure early next week. 

Congressional Democrats and the White House previously agreed to separate spending talks from negotiations over another relief package in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic. They had not agreed to a timeline for the length of the stopgap measure, with Democrats initially looking to push it into February after a potential President Biden would take office. Republicans had been steadfast in insisting the bill last only into December. 

While lawmakers agreed to a “clean” CR, they also allowed for certain “anomalies” to fund various initiatives. Senate Republicans, the White House and House Democrats remain divided on what such a package should look like, so putting those issues on distinct tracks significantly reduced the odds of a shutdown. Democrats have also pushed for an extension for the Census Bureau to turn over the data it collects for its decennial count, Politico reported on Friday. Census currently plans to do so by the end of December, a deadline watchdogs and the agency have warned would create a greater risk of errors. It was unclear if Democrats ultimately included the provision as of Friday afternoon, though it appeared the measure would have bipartisan support. 

The House has passed 10 of the 12 annual spending bills, but those were agreed to largely without Republican support. The Senate has yet to approve any of its bills, even at the committee level. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said on Friday the primary hold up was the length of the CR. Democrats were hoping they would have more leverage if they were able to postpone the drafting of fiscal 2021 spending bills until after Biden were sworn into office, should he prevail in the upcoming election. 

Even if lawmakers struck a deal to fund agencies through December, another stopgap measure could become necessary if the lame duck Congress decides to punt on line-by-line funding measures in the weeks immediately following the election.