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Congress last week gave final approval to a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government operating at FY20 funding levels for the first two months of the fiscal year. Following the House’s passage a week prior, the Senate approved and President Trump signed the bill one day before government funding was set to lapse. The CR will keep the government running until December 11, unless lawmakers approve a package of FY21 appropriations bills before then.

While lawmakers were able to avert a government shutdown as of late last week, their efforts to reach a deal on a new round of economic recovery legislation to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic had been unsuccessful. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchen engaged in ongoing negotiating sessions last week in an attempt to close a gap between House Democrats’ preferred $2.2 trillion relief bill and the Trump administration’s target of $1.5 trillion, but they had reached no agreement as of the weekend. As the negotiations continued, the House on Thursday approved a slimmed-down version of the Democrats’ HEROES Act that still includes provisions such as barring community water systems from suspending a customer’s service for nonpayment during the pandemic and authorizing $1.5 billion for a new program to help low-income households pay their water and sewer bills. The House vote was merely symbolic, however, as Senate Republicans have no interest in taking up the Democratic plan.

Barring a breakthrough in COVID negotiations members of the House are not expected to return to Washington until after Election Day. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced over the weekend that the full Senate will not reconvene before October 19, after several Senate Republicans tested positive for COVID-19. But as of now the Senate Judiciary Committee is still slated to meet next week to begin confirmation hearings on the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.