With the House and Senate still at loggerheads on border wall funding and other budget issues, Rep. Nita Lowey, D-New York, chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, introduced a continuing resolution (CR) bill that would keep the government running at fiscal 2019 spending levels through Dec. 20.
The bill would be the second continuing resolution since fiscal 2020 started on Oct. 1, despite repeated warnings from the Pentagon that failure to pass a new National Defense Authorization Act and appropriations bills would impact a variety of modernization programs.
"With a government shutdown deadline just days away, this continuing resolution is necessary to keep government open as we work toward completing the appropriations process," Lowey said in a statement.
On the Senate floor, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, also voiced support for a CR through Dec. 20.
"While the House and Senate continue negotiations on setting the allocations, we need to buy more time," he said. "The House and Senate need to pass a continuing resolution to fund the government through Dec. 20 and allow these talks to continue."
House and Senate negotiators have reached agreement on full-year appropriations for several Cabinet and other government agencies, but an impasse remains over funding for the Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, and Labor.
The Pentagon and the services have repeatedly warned that continuing resolutions disrupt planning, readiness and maintenance, and have called on Congress to pass the already agreed-upon defense budget that would put spending in the range of $730 billion.
However, spending for the border wall, and President Donald Trump's plan to take $3.6 billion from military construction funds to pay for it, has been a major stumbling block in the appropriations process.
-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.