- House Democrats unveiled a stopgap spending bill to keep the government open past Oct. 1.
- It omits both farm aid — a Republican priority — but it also excludes food assistance for children during the pandemic, a measure Democrats sought.
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he opposed the plan, raising the risks of a government shutdown.
- The plan aims to keep the government funded until Dec. 11, when Congress would have to pass another spending bill.
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House Democrats unveiled their stopgap plan to keep the government funded past the end of September, omitting key priorities both parties sought.
The 104-page bill aims to maintain federal spending levels until Dec. 11, when Congress would have to pass another spending plan. It leave out nearly $30 billion in farm aid the White House wanted. But it also excludes pandemic food assistance for children, a Democratic concern.
But Senate Republicans came out against the plan shortly after it was unveiled, raising the risks of a government shutdown only nine days before federal funding is depleted — and barely a month before the presidential election.
“House Democrats’ rough draft of a government funding bill shamefully leaves out key relief and support that American farmers need,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote in a tweet. “This is no time to add insult to injury and defund help for farmers and rural America.”
The bill is set to receive a vote this week in the Democratic-led House and then another in the GOP-controlled Senate, Both chambers must pass similar spending measures so President Trump signs it into law. Scores of federal agencies will start shutting down if Congress fails to reach an agreement by midnight on September 30.
Democrats slammed Republicans for opposing the spending bill.
“This GOP proposal isn’t about farmers — it’s about a political slush fund for the Trump re-election campaign,” Evan Hollander, the communications director for Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee, wrote in a tweet.
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The GOP is pushing to include the bailout program in the short-term funding measure, otherwise known as a continuing resolution.
“We do prefer additional farm aid in the CR. Most of all we want a clean CR, keep the government open,” White House National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow told reporters on Monday.
The Trump administration and Congress approved $19 billion in federal aid for farmers as part of the CARES Act earlier this year. That’s in addition to nearly $20 billion that the White House directed to farmers as a result of Trump’s trade wars over the past two years.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreed earlier this month to keep the coronavirus relief bill separate from discussions to avert a government shutdown.
Talks on a stimulus bill are still bogged down with the White House and congressional Democrats nearly $1 trillion apart on their spending plans.
Pelosi said in a New York Times podcast interview published Monday that Democrats are holding out for a bigger deal from Trump that includes direct payments, state aid, and rental assistance among other measures.
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