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McConnell: Another stop-gap funding bill may be needed to prevent government shutdown

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks through the US Capitol in Washington, US, December 16, 2020. (Reuters photo)

US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that he hoped lawmakers would reach agreement on a coronavirus relief bill soon, as talks on a coronavirus package and mammoth funding deal drag out.

He indicated on Thursday that Congress would likely need a days-long stopgap government funding bill.

Congress and the White House are working to reach an agreement on a massive package that would tie a roughly $900 billion coronavirus deal to a $1.4 trillion government funding package, which they need to pass it by Friday night in order to avoid a government shutdown.

McConnell suggested that Congress would unlikely meet deadline, saying that a rare weekend session was "highly likely."

"If we need to further extend the Friday funding deadline before final legislation can pass in both chambers, I hope we'll extend it for a very, very short window of time," McConnell said.

Asked whether lawmakers would need to pass a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government running while negotiations continue, he said, “We may.”

Meanwhile, Senator John Thune, who chairs the Senate Commerce Committee, said that it was "more of a real possibility" that another stopgap funding bill would be needed.

"I would hope it wouldn't be more than 24-48 hours. I really think this is coming to a close," Thune told reporters.


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