Appropriators strike deal on funding totals to avoid December shutdown

Key context: House Democrats unveiled their funding allocations earlier this year and passed most of their spending bills in two big bundles over the summer, while Senate Republicans only released their numbers earlier this month and haven’t passed any bills.

Appropriators and staff have worked for days to resolve a number of outstanding issues between the two sets of figures, including how to classify veterans health care spending, funding for nuclear cleanup and state unemployment costs as joblessness remains high during the pandemic, according to aides close to the talks.

It’s unclear whether any stimulus measures will accompany the government funding package. Senate Republicans have been increasingly pessimistic about attaching coronavirus relief to the spending bill, while Democrats have remained somewhat optimistic.

“We have been working on the omnibus bill and I thought that would be a segue into” coronavirus relief, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday during her weekly press conference. “Let’s hope that it is.”

Top Senate Republicans have signaled that the White House will sign off on an omnibus, rather than another continuing resolution that would keep federal funding flat while avoiding a shutdown. But officials’ assurances as to what President Donald Trump will ultimately support have been somewhat vague.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters on Capitol Hill last week that he can’t “guarantee” a government shutdown is off the table, but “it’s a high priority to make sure we keep our government funded.”

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