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House passes stopgap funding bill, avoids shutdown

Sept. 22 (UPI) — The House on Tuesday passed a a bipartisan agreement to fund the government through the end of the year, averting an Oct. 1 shutdown.

The vote came shortly after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she and Republican negotiators had reached a deal on the continuing resolution, which includes $8 billion to fund nutrition assistance and and greater oversight to make sure farm assistance doesn’t go to oil companies.

“To help the millions of families struggling to keep food on the table during the pandemic, Democrats have renewed the vital, expiring lifeline of pandemic [Electronic Benefit Transfer] for a full year and enabled our fellow Americans in the territories to receive this critical nutrition assistance,” she said.

“Democrats secured urgently needed assistance for schoolchildren to receive meals despite the coronavirus’s disruption of their usual schedules, whether virtual or in-person, and expanded Pandemic EBT access for young children in child care. We also extended key flexibility for states to lower administrative requirements on [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] for families in the middle of this crisis.”

The Senate must agree to the same legislation before President Donald Trump can sign it.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who’s been negotiating the spending deal with Pelosi, didn’t comment on her announcement.

The deal funds the U.S. government through Dec. 11, avoiding a potential shutdown amid election season, a pandemic and an economic crisis. The new fiscal year is set to begin Oct. 1.

House Democrats’ original continuing resolution proposal eliminated about $30 billion supported by Trump for a bailout for farmers through the Commodity Credit Corp. Further negotiations restored at least some of the funding after Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell promised a fight from his party.

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