With barely five weeks left before the current Continuing Resolution (CR) expires on November 21st, Congressional leaders are scrambling to make progress on a long-term appropriations bill for the fiscal year that began on October 1st. There is belief amongst some lawmakers that another CR could be needed to fund at least part of the government through the end of 2019, and perhaps as far as into early spring.
"Unless a miracle happens around here with the House and the Senate, we will have to come forth with another CR," said Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Alabama), noting that next February or March is "probably in the ballpark." On Thursday, the Senate voted 92-2 to pass a four-bill spending package (H.R. 3055) that combines the fiscal 2020 Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science, Interior-Environment, and Transportation-Housing & Urban Development bills. The Appropriations Committee had advanced all four measures on unanimous votes. When work on the first package is completed, the Senate would proceed to a defense funding package that would also feature funding for opioids treatment and prevention, among other programs, according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky).