New York Daily News logoDemocrats set to unveil stopgap bill to prevent shutdown

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats on Friday prepared a temporary spending bill that is needed to avert a government shutdown at the end of the month — and that would allow lawmakers to leave Washington to campaign.

It’s a lowest-common-denominator, bare-minimum measure that befits a deeply polarized Congress. Even so, it took intense efforts at the highest levels of Washington to finish the package. It was set to be released Friday afternoon after a last-minute negotiating flurry.

Republicans denied Democratic requests involving the census and election administration grants. What remains is not controversial and includes provisions that would extend federal highway and flood insurance programs, along with a variety of other low-profile items.

And, as previously announced, the bill does not contain COVID-19 relief, leaving that issue in all likelihood for a post-election lame-duck session — or for the next administration.

The temporary funding measure comes as some Democrats are increasingly upset that an impasse over coronavirus relief is reflecting poorly on the party and as President Donald Trump agitates for a deal that’s more generous than other Republicans would like.

But with COVID-19 rescue negotiations dead in the water, the stopgap spending bill is likely to be the only measure of note that passes before the election. Not long ago, such measures barely attracted notice, but there have been a handful of government shutdowns over the past few years. Congress has become so dysfunctional that crafting stopgap measures now requires more attention from top leaders.