Senate passes one-week authorities funding extension, sends it to Trump

The Senate passed a week-long extension of state funds on Friday as Congress rushed to secure spending and coronavirus relief deals.

The measure goes to President Donald Trump’s desk. He has to sign it before Saturday to prevent the government from closing.

The bill will fund the government until December 18th. Congressional leaders hope to have both a year-round spending package and pandemic aid approved by then, but are struggling to reach an agreement on both fronts.

The appropriators have agreed on a $ 1.4 trillion price for the legislation to keep the government running through September 30, 2021. However, they have not agreed on exactly where the money should go.

Despite the most frantic effort in months to develop a coronavirus bailout, Congress must resolve several major disputes to reach an agreement. Millions of Americans await help as an uncontrolled outbreak ravages communities across the country, creating hunger that has not been seen for years.

If the legislature cannot pass relief laws in the coming days, around 12 million people will lose unemployment benefits the day after Christmas. An eviction moratorium and provisions for family leave introduced at the beginning of this year will also expire at the end of December.

Two senators, the independent Vermont-based Bernie Sanders and the Missouri Republican Josh Hawley, threatened to block the spending measure when they urged Congress to send more aid to Americans. Legislators wanted to vote on a proposal to send another direct payment of up to $ 1,200 for individuals and $ 500 per child.

Sanders said he decided not to object to government funding on Friday but would do so next week if Congress didn’t seek more relief.

“We are more hungry in America today than ever before in the modern history of this country,” said the senator when pressing for direct payments.

For months, Congress failed to provide more aid to Americans, despite ongoing health and economic crises. A GOP-backed proposal to give businesses immunity from coronavirus-related lawsuits and a plan to send more aid to state and local governments backed by Democrats and many Republicans remain the biggest sticking points in reaching a settlement .

Democrats have also criticized the fact that the recent $ 916 billion aid offer from the White House, blessed by GOP congressional leaders, does not include additional federal unemployment insurance funds. It has a direct payment of $ 600, half the total of the March stimulus checks approved by Congress.

Democrats have put their weight behind a $ 908 billion package put together by a non-partisan group. The measure would include unemployment benefit of $ 300 per week but no direct payments.

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