Here’s everything we know.
Bearing down on a midnight shutdown deadline, top negotiators on a must-pass, almost $1 trillion COVID-19 economic relief package are committed to sealing an agreement Friday as they resolve remaining differences in hopes of passing the legislation this weekend.
The pressure is on. Government funding lapses at midnight Friday and a partial, low-impact shutdown would ensue if Congress fails to pass a stopgap spending bill before then. That’s not guaranteed, said Senate GOP Whip John Thune, who said some Republicans might block the stopgap measure to keep the pressure on if the talks haven’t borne fruit.
Democrats came out swinging at a key obstacle: A provision by conservative Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., that would close down more than $400 billion in potential Federal Reserve lending powers established under a relief bill in March. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is shutting down the program at the end of December but Toomey’s language goes further, and Democrats say the provision would tie President-elect Joe Biden’s hands and put the economy at risk.