On Thursday, October 1 the President signed a continuing resolution to fund the government at current levels by extending about $1.4 trillion in government funding until December 11, thus averting a shutdown at the start of the federal fiscal year. The measure includes $30 billion in farm aid and $8 billion in nutrition assistance for children who normally receive free or reduced school lunches. The bill also extends the availability of funding for NIH multiyear research grants, prevents the Defense Department from beginning new multiyear activities for the duration of the continuing resolution, and includes additional funding for the 2020 Census.
Additionally, the bill includes a provision to ensure that seniors aren’t hit with a $50 per month Medicare Part B premium hike and a one-year surface transportation authorization extension. It also allows FEMA to access FY2021 funding in order to deal with the Atlantic hurricane season and raging wildfires on the West Coast. The stopgap spending measure now gives congressional leaders just over two months to either negotiate a massive spending deal by mid-December – which could increase agency budgets for the remainder of FY21 – or pass yet another stopgap bill to stretch current levels of government cash into next year. Failure to pass a budget or a continuing resolution will result in another federal government shutdown.