Covid stimulus update: Senate passes bill to prevent government shutdown

Congress voted to prevent a government shutdown for two days while lawmakers try to finalize a coronavirus relief agreement.

Congress voted Friday to prevent a government shutdown for two days, sending a temporary funding measure to President Donald Trump.

Federal funding will lapse at 12:01 a.m. ET on Saturday if Washington fails to approve a spending bill. The stopgap measure would keep the government running through Sunday until 12:01 a.m. ET Monday morning while congressional leaders try to finalize a full-year funding and coronavirus relief package.

Trump will have hours to sign the bill before government funding expires.

Once Trump approves the measure, Congress will once again find itself on a tight deadline. The House will meet again on Sunday at noon ET and will not vote earlier than 1 p.m. The Senate will return at 11 a.m. ET Saturday and will likely address nominations.

Senators including independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Republican Josh Hawley of Missouri had warned they could delay approval of a spending bill as they lobby for leadership to include a $1,200 direct payment in a pandemic aid package. Neither lawmaker followed through on the warning.

Before the Senate unanimously passed the spending bill, Sanders said he would “object to any attempt” by the chamber to pass a full-year spending plan without also approving a pandemic relief package that includes “substantial direct payments.”

Hawley earlier tweeted that he would not block the legislation after top Republicans assured him a final relief deal would include “direct assistance to working people.” Lawmakers are expected to include $600 payments, down from the $1,200 checks approved as part of the CARES Act in March.

Source: Covid stimulus update: Senate passes bill to prevent government shutdown