October 25, 2020

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House may vote on bill to fund government through December

Washington — The House could vote on Tuesday on a short-term measure to keep government agencies funded through December 11, hoping to stave off a government shutdown days ahead of a September 30 funding deadline. The bill, known as a continuing resolution (CR), is expected to pass largely along party lines, as Republicans have complained about the lack of funding included to assist farmers.

“The Continuing Resolution introduced today will avert a catastrophic shutdown in the middle of the ongoing pandemic, wildfires and hurricanes, and keep government open until December 11, when we plan to have bipartisan legislation to fund the government for this fiscal year,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement announcing the measure on Monday.

However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell slammed the proposal, tweeting later on Monday that the measure “shamefully leaves out key relief and support that American farmers need.”

Republicans have argued for a provision that would allow the Trump administration to continue to dole out Department of Agriculture funds to bail out farms, which have been squeezed by the president’s trade policies. Democrats say that adding the funding for farms is a campaign ploy by Mr. Trump and Republicans to attract rural voters ahead of the election. Although the CR may see some opposition on the Senate floor, it is unclear whether McConnell would risk a government shutdown.

“We wouldn’t even think of threatening to shut down government,” Pelosi said in an interview with MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes on Monday. Pelosi has previously expressed a desire to pass a “clean” CR, meaning that it would not include any controversial provisions that might delay its passage.

Pelosi also said on Monday that funding the government was a separate fight from negotiating another coronavirus relief package, saying that the issues are on “parallel tracks.” Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin came to an informal agreement earlier this month to pass a clean CR without any provisions related to the pandemic.

The fights over funding the government and passing another relief package also comes as the Senate prepares to consider Mr. Trump’s yet-to-be-named nominee for the Supreme Court vacancy left by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death last week. Senator Lindsey Graham, the chair of the Judiciary Committee, said Monday on “Hannity” that Republicans have the votes to confirm a nominee to fill the seat.

Pelosi also said in the interview with Hayes that House Democrats would not threaten to shut down the government to pressure the Senate to keep the seat vacant until after the election.

“We’re not about shutting down government. And it’s not a lever,” Pelosi said. “You think if we shut down government they would say, ‘OK, now we won’t move forward with the justice?’ No, they won’t.”

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