White House proposes stopgap bill with disaster aid as Congress hashes out trillions in spending

U.S. President Joe Biden makes remarks about Afghanistan from the East Room at the White House in Washington on August 26, 2021.
WASHINGTON - The Biden administration Tuesday offered a temporary funding measure for the government while lawmakers fought over a $1 trillion bill to improve infrastructure and a $3.5 trillion reconciliation package that would transform the budget.

The White House encouraged Congress leaders to think about a short-term continuing resolution, as the fiscal year 2021 ended at the end September.

The federal government without a continuing resolution would be shut down, triggering a wave of furloughs to federal workers until Congress passes funding legislation.

This temporary measure would provide billions of dollars in aid to Hurricane Ida recovery and to relocate Afghans fleeing Kabul.

Failure to pass this stopgap could result in the public not having reliable access to a range of federal programs, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the Bureau of Reclamation. These programs are currently responding to drought.

A Biden administration official said that today, in our responsibility to plan prudently for the end fiscal year, we provide technical assistance to Congress on "a short-term" resolution. "The goal is to prevent severe disruptions to certain public services that could occur under a CR, even if it was just extended without modifications to last year's Appropriations Bills."

In coordination with the Office of Management and Budget, each federal agency creates its own shutdown plans. Each plan outlines which government activities will be halted until appropriations can be restored. This requires furloughs as well as the halting many agency activities.

Many essential services are related to public safety and the armed forces. They continue to operate and are reimbursed by Congress when the funds are appropriated.