Congress Hopes to Avoid Government Shutdown as It Returns to Washington

Congress is returning from recess this week as it faces the challenge to once again keep the government open past September 30.

Lawmakers need to avoid a repeated government shutdown in three weeks when federal funding lapses. Hoping to prevent this from happening, Democrats in the House will try to pass a short-term funding bill, keeping the government running and federal workers paid.

Last week, House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer wrote to Democrats in the chamber that the House will consider a so-called continuing resolution during the week of September 16.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell noted Monday that he expected an “interim continuing resolution” to be passed in order to avoid “any funding lapse” while Congress works on passing regular long-term appropriations bills, CNBC reports.

However, President Donald Trump is yet to say whether he would back a continuing resolution. A White House official stressed the administration was ready to work with Congress to prevent a shutdown and pass full-year appropriations bills, but refused to say whether the President would provide his support for a short-term bill.

Lawmakers are hoping to avoid a similar scenario like the one in January when the government remained closed for 35 consecutive days and hundreds of workers missed their paychecks.

Democrats have already discussed passing a stop-gap bill through November 22. A continuing resolution sets government funding at current levels, CNBC writes, adding that lawmakers need to approve appropriations bills to fund the government after they reached a deal earlier this year to suspend the debt ceiling.

The House has so far passed the majority of funding measures, while the Senate has not passed any waiting for a final budget agreement. The Senate Appropriations Committee expects to consider four funding bills on Thursday.

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