Congress passed a days-long stopgap bill on Friday, hours before the government was scheduled to shut down, as negotiations over another coronavirus stimulus bill stretched into the weekend.
The legislation, which passed the Senate in a voice vote, extends the government funding deadline from Dec. 18 to the end of Dec. 20, giving negotiators more time to finish a sweeping deal to provide year-end coronavirus relief and fund the government through Oct. 1.
The House already passed the two-day continuing resolution (CR), with the Senate soon following suit and sending it to President Trump for a signature. He signed the stopgap bill just after 10 p.m., according to the White House, averting a a temporary, middle-of-the-night lapse in government funding.
“I think all of our colleagues understand our present situation. Both sides of the aisle are firmly committed to finalizing another pandemic rescue package. … But alas we are not there yet. Given that, our urgent task is to pass a stopgap funding measure,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
It wasn’t clear throughout Friday that the Senate would be able to pass the stopgap bill, with several senators being noncommittal. Because the Senate went down to the deadline, they needed agreement from every senator in order to allow the CR to be voted on and passed Friday night.