WPRI 12 News Washington DC Bureau

As pandemic rages on, Congress working to avoid government shutdown

Washington DC

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) ─ When Congress returns to Capitol Hill next week, lawmakers will have just a few weeks to come to an agreement on a funding plan in order to avoid a government shutdown.

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, said he expects Congress to pass a continuing resolution to keep the government up and running, but he doesn’t consider that a success.

“We’re going to have to just a few weeks before the Oct. 1 deadline and it’s unfortunately unlikely we’ll get all of the appropriation bills,” Cardin said. “A continuing resolution is a failure… not as great a failure of letting the government shutdown, but it’s not where we need to be.”

Cardin said besides avoiding a shutdown, a continuing resolution doesn’t address the new realities government agencies are facing during the pandemic.

“You’re freezing the current year’s budget into the next year, you’re not establishing the priorities that are needed,” he said.

Negotiations over government funding come as COVID-19 continues to spread across the country.

Some lawmakers say funding the government and a coronavirus relief package should go hand in hand.

“Both of them have to be done, in my humble opinion,” Sen. Tom Reed, R-New York, said. “So we might as well take care of both packages at the same time.”

Reed said, at a minimum, lawmakers should pass a continuing resolution to avoid additional harm to the American people.

“The country’s going through enough, it doesn’t need the drama of Washington D.C. to add to it,” Reed said.

Lawmakers return to Capitol Hill after Labor Day Weekend.

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