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. “Time’s Ticking: Congress’ Deal to Keep the Government Funded

American citizens received a reprieve from the looming government shutdown as Congress has passed a stopgap spending deal that funds the government until December 20. The bill, which passed the House and is expected to pass the Senate in the coming days, keeps the government open, prevents a government shutdown, and will give Congress time to reach a deal that will fund the government through the remainder of the 2020 fiscal year. The deal comes after weeks of tense negotiations between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats, led by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, had refused to fund the government until Republicans agreed to increased funding for areas such as education, healthcare, and infrastructure. The Republicans had sought to decrease spending for these areas and had sought to fund the government for only a short period of time in an effort to gain leverage. Ultimately, the two sides reached an agreement that will appropriate supplemental funding for some federal programs, while providing non-defense discretionary spending at the same level as in fiscal year 2020. The deal also includes no money for a border wall, although it does delay the implementation of certain proposed changes to the Visas program. The deal gives Congress just four weeks to create a new spending plan that will fund the government for the rest of the year. It’s unclear whether Congress will be able to agree on such a plan in such a short amount of time, and both sides have already voiced opposition to parts of the proposed deal. Democrats have argued that the agreement does not provide enough funding for necessary programs, while Republicans are objecting to its overall cost. With just four weeks to reach a deal and no shortage of disagreements between the two parties, it’s unlikely that a long-term spending agreement can be reached before the end of the year. There’s also a strong possibility that Congress will pass another short-term spending bill to avoid another government shutdown. The uncertain nature of the situation will undoubtedly cause significant delay and chaos in the months ahead, as any potential deal could be held up in congressional debate. Regardless of the outcome, the agreement to keep the government funded until December 20 provides a critical reprieve for the ongoing federal operations. Failure to reach an agreement would have caused significant disruption to government services and hampered the delivery of vital resources to American citizens. With Congress now committed to finding a long-term solution, hopefully the limbo period will be brought to an end so that all of the federal necessary programs can get the needed funding.