By Orhan Cam Royalty-free stock photo ID: 546416560 United States Capitol Building in Washington DC USA

Trump signs continuing resolution

President Donald Trump signed a bill to keep government open through Dec. 20 while lawmakers hash out their differences over funding.

The current stopgap funding measure keeping government open was set to expire at midnight on Nov. 21.

The Senate passed the continuing resolution by a 74-20 vote on Nov. 21.

The measure, which had already passed in the House of Representatives, mostly maintains spending at fiscal 2019 levels but contains a spending boost for the Census Bureau as it prepares for its 2020 population count and a 3.1% pay raise for uniformed military. The bill also extends several health care programs and certain surveillance authorities in the Patriot Act well into next year. Those authorities were scheduled to expire at the end of 2019, and the policy fight over their renewal on Capitol Hill will be punted until next March.

"This measure keeps the government open and allows our discussions on the fiscal 2020 process to continue," Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said in a statement. "I am hopeful that we can reach a resolution soon so we can provide government agencies -- our military, in particular -- the funding and flexibility they need to operate efficiently and effectively."

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said it was "time for senators on both sides of the aisle to put the appropriations process back on track.  We owe it to the American taxpayers to complete the government funding process before December 20 and avoid a senseless government shutdown."

The House has its own road map of how to spend the $1.37 trillion agreed by Congress as the top-line spending cap for fiscal year 2020 and has passed 10 of 12 appropriations bills. On the Senate side, things are moving more slowly. While a set of non-controversial funding bills has passed, the Senate still hasn't agreed on how funds will be distributed across the 12 appropriations bills.

The big issue this year, as it was last year when there was a shutdown, is funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. The Democrat-controlled House is opposed to both funding the wall and restoring funds to the Defense Department and military construction projects that were diverted to the wall under an emergency declaration by President Donald Trump.

Shelby told reporters that talks over spending levels have "improved vastly" and said that "we're getting close to the numbers." However he acknowledged that the wall looms large in the funding debate. That issue "is going to have to be resolved before we get some type of legislation," he said.

This story was updated Nov. 21 with new information.

Reader comments

Thu, Dec 5, 2019

The budget is supposed to be signed into effect a year before it is due, not after the fact as is the new norm. Since none of these elected folks seem to be able to do their job appropriately how about they dont get paid while the furlough hangs over us all. Maybe they will then have the same issues we all get to manage, bills being late, and calls for their payments hounding us while we wait for funding and get sent home at no fault of our own. I know I get my job done and don't miss deadlines, so how come they cannot do the same.

Wed, Nov 27, 2019

The buzz does not sound good for avoiding a shutdown on December 20 with all of the impeachment stuff going on. I don't understand why they don't start actively working and voting on a bill NOW. They will wait until December 18 at the earliest before they seriously start talking. And this time, it will likely result in a Shutdown. Working for the federal government nowadays with the constant threats of Shutdowns every year has been miserable and humiliating.

Tue, Nov 26, 2019

Vote out all the elected morons next election cycles. It is your obligation as an American citizen to help throw out ineffective career politicians and their political appointees. Make America great again by adding a disinfectant (votes) into the sewer called the senate and congress.

Mon, Nov 25, 2019

Continue at current spending levels except for suspending congressional and Senate staff to $0.00 until 2025, then restore funding for those jobs if deemed necessary. This continues the status we've gotten accustomed to but saves us the suspense of unproductive debate. If there's no staff to bring donuts and coffee and the daily agenda to the congressmen and senator's maybe they'll stay home.

Mon, Nov 25, 2019

Act into law if the congress, senate and president can not negotiate full term funding, each takes a 25% reduction per day in salary until one is signed. The bloat in congress and senate is amazing, their benefits, pay scales and work per dollar surely is a epitome of laziness and over compensation. Vote all out of office, it will make America great again.

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