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Democrats aiming to pass new government funding bill by Feb. 18 deadline

Democratic leaders are set to meet with their GOP counterparts Tuesday afternoon to discuss the path forward on funding the government.
Image: Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi speak to reporters following a meeting at the Capitol on Feb. 1, 2022.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speak to reporters Tuesday after a meeting at the Capitol.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Democratic congressional leaders said Tuesday that they are aiming to pass a bill that funds the government for the rest of the fiscal year by the Feb. 18 deadline to avoid a shutdown.

Emerging from a closed-door meeting, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Democrats want to pass an appropriations measure with new funding levels, rather than a short-term continuing resolution that maintains funding levels from last year.

“We very much want to get an omnibus done,” Schumer told reporters. “We’re all on the same page, and we’re awaiting what the Republican counteroffer will be.”

Pelosi said passing an omnibus measure through Congress, which would fund the federal government through at least Sept. 30, is “our focus right now.” Schumer said Democrats are also waiting for the Biden administration to send a proposal for Covid relief to Congress that could be wrapped into the measure.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., the chair of the Appropriations Committee, echoed their comments. Asked whether Congress might have to resort to another short-term bill, she said, “Let’s see where subsequent conversations go,” and then, she said, “we’ll make that decision.”

Bipartisan talks were expected Tuesday afternoon at the Capitol to discuss the path forward to prevent a shutdown and pass a spending bill by the mid-February deadline.

Pelosi had recently said in a letter to members of her caucus that the House must pass a strong omnibus measure, which, she said, “will address critical priorities for our country, including for our national security and for communities at home.”

Congress passed a short-term bill in early December to extend 2021 funding levels into February.