The U.S. has reached 200,000 deaths from the coronavirus. Now experts are looking ahead, and the forecast for the fall and winter isn’t good.


WASHINGTON – The House approved a government spending bill Tuesday in hopes of averting a government shutdown that would rock the country in eight days in the midst of a global pandemic.

The bill extends current government funding levels and would punt negotiations over a number of hot-button issues until Dec. 11 – a month after the election. The legislation saw some last-minute changes with billions for farmers and pandemic food assistance programs for families, additions that allowed the bill to pass with bipartisan support in a 359-57 vote, with a majority of Republicans voting with Democrats. One lawmaker, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., voted present. 

It will now go to the Senate for approval, then, if approved, will head to the White House for President Donald Trump’s signature. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a deal on the proposal just before the vote, highlighting funds for food assistance programs that Democrats had sought. 

“We have reached an agreement with Republicans on the CR to add nearly $8 billion in desperately needed nutrition assistance for hungry schoolchildren and families,” she  said. “We also increase accountability in the Commodity Credit Corporation, preventing funds for farmers from being misused for a Big Oil bailout.”

The legislation, released on Monday, saw a hiccup after Republicans blasted the bill over the exclusion of aid for farmers, a top priority for the GOP and President Donald Trump. 

Republicans had been pushing for billions in assistance as part of a farm bailout program and in return, Democrats hoped for money in food assistance in the bill. But both items were not included when the spending bill was released, leaving the chances of the legislation passing up in the air and raising fears that the government could shutdown next week. 

More: White House and Congress reach informal deal to avert government shutdown at end of month

More: Pelosi says House will stay in session until coronavirus stimulus deal is reached, moderate lawmakers push for compromise


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“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 said after the bill’s text was released Monday. “This is no time to add insult to injury and defund help for farmers and rural America.”

McConnell has yet to weigh in on the updated spending bill. 

Sen. Chuck Grassley, one of the senior Republicans in the Senate who represents agriculture-heavy Iowa, called the original bill “hogwash” and said Democrats should be “ashamed for leaving our farmers in the lurch.” 

Democrats had criticized the loan program for farmers as a political slush fund with concerns over how money was being dolled out and whether politics was playing a role in what states saw more money.

The impasse led the House to press pause for several