In my many years as a Congressional aide, lobbyist, and strategist I can’t recall a time of such a failure to act by the US Congress when the need for action was so great.

The first priority this week was to avoid a government shutdown that was due to occur tonight at midnight without Congressional action. On Wednesday, the House passed a one-week extension until Friday, December 18. And after some unnecessary drama, the Senate passed the one-week extension on Friday afternoon. President Trump is expected to sign it before midnight.

The second priority is trying to put together a COVID Relief Bill that would be added the massive Omnibus Spending legislation which funds the US Government until October 1, 2021.

The week started with much optimism as a bipartisan, bicameral package was proposed. But the deal appears to have fallen apart with Democrats insisting on money for state and local governments, while Republicans insist on a liability shield for the private sector. There is some talk of weekend negotiations that could lead to the dropping of both the money for state and local governments and the liability shield, but add stimulus checks for individuals. The relief package would likely also include money for PPP small business loans, supplemental unemployment, and ...

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