House and Senate leaders are steering toward another stopgap continuing resolution (CR) funding bill to avoid a Federal government shutdown when the current CR approved in December 2021 expires on Feb. 18.

Terms of the CR bill currently under discussion would extend government funding to March 11, a Senate source told MeriTalk today.

The short-term CR bills are necessary in the absence of congressional action on spending bills for fiscal year 2022, which began on Oct. 1 of last year.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., on Sunday said the House will take up a stopgap bill this week, and expressed hope the Senate will do the same. He did not specify how long a new CR measure would extend.

“We’re gonna get something done, it’ll probably be a short-term CR [continuing resolution] and it will be this coming week to give us a little more time,” Rep. Hoyer said on MSNBC’s “The Sunday Show.”

“Negotiations are very vigorous and I think that we’re going to get agreement both on the top line, how much spending is going to be in, and how it will be spent,” Rep. Hoyer said. “But it’s not there yet, so I expect to do a continuing resolution to continue the authorization for government to operate and be funded this coming week and hopefully the Senate will do the same.”

While “an omnibus is absolutely essential,” Rep. Hoyer said “the problem is it’s very difficult to get agreement” on spending with Republicans and Democrats.

With just 11 days until the deadline, Rep. Hoyer’s floor schedule for this week says, “the House will act on FY2022 appropriations, hopefully on an omnibus bill, but we will not allow the government to shut down.”

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, also said on Thursday that Congress is “probably headed” for another continuing resolution.

“I think we’re probably headed that direction anyway, whether it’s going to be a longer one or a shorter one,” Sen. Shelby told RollCall about another CR. “And that would depend on the leadership… on where we are, if we are anywhere in our negotiations.”

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“We haven’t resolved anything yet,” Sen. Shelby added.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will be key players in deciding how long a new CR would fund the government.

“If it’s a short-term [CR] that would mean probably that we’re making some progress, real progress,” Sen. Shelby said. “If it’s longer, we might go… for the rest of the year.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said on Thursday that negotiations are ongoing, and did not explicitly mention a CR.

“Right now, we are going back and forth with offers between the Democrats and Republicans and the continuous – we’re hoping to reach a deal on a top-line very soon on that,” Rep. Pelosi said during a press conference.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.