Thousands to honor Ginsburg in DC today; House passes bill to avert shutdown; 4 MLB teams clinch | Nation

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Today is Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020. Let’s get caught up.

These non-virus headlines are in the news this morning: Thousands are expected to pay their respects to Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Supreme Court; the House passed stopgap funding aimed at averting a shutdown; and four MLB teams clinched playoff spots.

Read on for these stories, other top headlines, celebrity birthdays and more.

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Supreme Court Ginsburg

A memorial to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg includes a photograph of the late Justice, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, outside the Harvard Law School library at Langdell Hall, on the campus of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Mass. 




Thousands expected to honor Ginsburg at Supreme Court

Thousands of people are expected to pay their respects at the Supreme Court to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the women’s rights champion, leader of the court’s liberal bloc and feminist icon who died last week.

Even with the court closed to the public because of the coronavirus pandemic and Washington already consumed with talk of Ginsburg’s replacement, the justice’s former colleagues, family, close friends and the public will have the chance Wednesday and Thursday to pass by the casket of the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court.

The sad occasion is expected to bring together the remaining eight justices for the first time since the building was closed in March and they resorted to meetings by telephone. The latest coverage:

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House easily passes stopgap funding bill, averting shutdown

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a sweeping bipartisan vote that takes a government shutdown off the table, the House passed a temporary government-wide funding bill Tuesday night, shortly after President Donald Trump prevailed in a behind-the-scenes fight over his farm bailout.

The stopgap measure will keep federal agencies fully up and running into December, giving lame-duck lawmakers time to digest the election and decide whether to pass the annual government funding bills by then or kick them to the next administration. The budget year ends Sept. 30.

The 359-57 vote came after considerable behind-the-scenes battling over proposed add-ons. The final agreement gives the administration continued immediate authority to dole out Agriculture Department subsidies in the run-up to Election Day. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., retreated from an initial draft that sparked a furor with Republicans and farm-state Democrats, who said she was interfering with the routine implementation of the rural safety net as low crop prices and Trump’s own tariffs slam farm country.

“It’s a big deal. This is cash flow to mom and pop businesses all over rural America,” said Texas Rep. Michael Conaway, top Republican on the House Agriculture Committee. “They get them every year in October. They come like clockwork.”

In talks Tuesday, Pelosi restored a farm aid funding patch sought by the administration, which has sparked the ire of Democrats who said it plays political favorites as it gives out bailout money to farmers and ranchers.

In return, Pelosi won COVID-related food aid for the poor, including an extension of a higher food benefit for families whose children are unable to receive free or reduced lunches because schools are closed over the coronavirus. Another add-on would permit states to remove hurdles to food stamps and nutrition aid to low-income mothers that are more difficult to clear during the pandemic.

The deal permitted the measure to speed through the House after a swift debate that should ensure smooth sailing in the GOP-held Senate before next Wednesday’s deadline. There’s no appetite on either side for a government shutdown.

On Monday, Democrats released a version of the stopgap measure that did not contain the farm bailout provision, enraging Republicans and putting passage of the measure in doubt. It became apparent that Pelosi did not have the votes to pass it — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., dismissed it as a “rough draft” — and negotiations continued.

Democrats complain that the Trump administration has favored southern states such as Georgia — a key swing state and home of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue — and larger producers in distributing bailout funds. Farmers are suffering from low commodity prices and the effects of higher tariffs imposed by Trump. Trump announced a new $13 billion allotment of bailout funding at a political rally in Wisconsin last week.

The administration’s handling of farm subsidies had angered Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, the powerful top Democrat on the Agriculture Committee. She said that the Agriculture Department didn’t need the special financing provision that

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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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House Approves Short-Term Bill to Avoid a Shutdown

The effort to stave off a shutdown less than six weeks before Election Day comes as the looming brawl over filling the Supreme Court vacancy left by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death has further intensified partisan rancor on Capitol Hill.

Congress will ultimately have to return in a lame-duck session, the period between Election Day and the chamber’s adjournment at the end of the year, and approve the annual must-pass legislation needed to fund the government. Democrats had initially pushed to extend the short-term legislation into February, in the hopes that their party would capture the White House and Senate and be able to negotiate more favorable deals under a new president and Congress. But Republicans refused.

Democrats also agreed to exclude provisions that would have provided additional funds for election security and extended critical deadlines for the U.S. census to submit redistricting data.

The measure would prevent furloughs at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services by allowing the agency, which has seen a loss in revenue in part because of the pandemic, to raise premium processing fees. It would also extend funding for a flood insurance program through next September, as well as funding for a program for highway construction and maintenance.

The bill also included language that would prevent Medicare recipients from seeing a significant increase in their premiums partly because of measures taken by the administration to counter the effects of the pandemic. But it did not include any additional relief to help American families and businesses recover from the toll of the pandemic, despite growing pressure from rank-and-file members for negotiators to break a stalemate on a broader legislative package.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers urged their party leaders on Tuesday to keep the House in session until Congress approved another pandemic relief bill, writing in a letter that “our constituents do not want us home campaigning while businesses continue to shutter.”

“It has been suggested by some that members of Congress are anxious to return to their districts to campaign in advance of the Nov. 3 election, even if that means leaving Capitol Hill without passing another Covid-19 relief bill,” wrote the lawmakers, led by Representative Jared Golden, Democrat of Maine. “We want to be very clear that we do not in any way agree with this position.”

A handful of moderate Democrats are also considering signing onto a Republican-led effort that would, if it gained the support of 218 lawmakers, force a vote on legislation to revive a popular federal loan program for small businesses, according to a person familiar with the plans, who requested anonymity to disclose details of private discussions.

Catie Edmondson contributed reporting.

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The House Moves to Avert a Shutdown

The House races to avoid a shutdown, while the Senate prepares for a hasty Supreme Court confirmation process. It’s Wednesday, and this is your politics tip sheet. Sign up here to get On Politics in your inbox every weekday.

Senator Kamala Harris visited a farmers market in Flint, Mich., yesterday.


When it comes to climate change, Biden has been eager to play up the contrasts between himself and Trump, who has systematically rolled back environmental regulations.

But the Democratic presidential nominee is facing new pressure from the left to confront environmental issues more aggressively: Last week, as Lisa Friedman and Thomas Kaplan report in a new article, more than 60 wealthy donors asked Biden to commit to a moratorium on all new coal, oil and natural gas development — and to reject advisers with ties to fossil fuel companies.

We talked to Lisa, a reporter on the Climate desk, about the latest effort to push Biden leftward on climate issues.

When Biden released his climate plan this summer, activists roundly praised it as a bold proposal. And his recent speech amid the wildfires in the West drew kudos from many environmentalists. But now there’s an appetite for him to make more commitments. How come?

It’s true — Biden’s climate plan drew praise from almost all parts of the environmentalist community, as did his speech linking the wildfires out West to climate change and excoriating Trump’s climate denial.

Now activists and donors alike are pushing him on the issue of personnel, urging him to commit to advisers — and potentially a cabinet — free of fossil fuel influences.

I think the reason we’re seeing that push now is because this is when the more progressive wing of the party feels it has some leverage, and it wants to keep the pressure on Biden to ensure that he takes aggressive action on climate change if he wins in November.

To what degree has Biden already purged his campaign of oil- and gas-industry veterans?

To my knowledge there are no oil- and gas-industry veterans at all serving on the Biden campaign in the climate policy arena. But there are some people volunteering and informally advising the campaign who have served on the boards of energy companies, like former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, which is something that progressives have raised as a concern.

If the debate over whether to ban hydraulic fracking has a geographic epicenter, it’s in Pennsylvania, where labor leaders support continuing the practice — and where Biden is fighting hard to win back a state that Trump took in 2016. What is the political calculus on this issue, and how much of a deal breaker is it for some environmental groups and left-wing voters?

In 2016, Trump won Pennsylvania by less than one percentage point, so this state is critically important.

Biden has been really threading a needle on this issue for just that reason. He has

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House passes short-term spending bill to avoid government shutdown

The deal will fund the government through Dec. 11.

The House approved late Tuesday night, in a 359-57-1 vote, a stopgap bill to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the month.

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez did not vote yes or no, but “present.”

The Senate will likely vote on the measure by the end of the week — where it is also expected to pass — before it heads to President Donald Trump’s desk for his signature. The stopgap measure must pass by Oct. 1 to keep U.S. agencies open.

“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,” Pelosi said in a statement. “We also increase accountability in the Commodity Credit Corporation, preventing funds for farmers from being misused for a Big Oil bailout.”

“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 EBT for a full year and enabled our fellow Americans in the territories to receive this critical nutrition assistance,” she continued. “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 SNAP for families in the middle of this crisis.”

The surprise late-night agreement came just days after talks crumbled late last week over policy disagreements.

Democrats have contended that the farm aid for the Commodity Credit Corporation — a GOP priority — “wasn’t help for farmers” but was “a bottomless, unaccountable political slush fund.”

“House Democrats already passed more than $30 billion in targeted and tailored emergency aid to farm country in response to the pandemic as part of the Heroes Act, including language to ensure greater transparency and accountability with the Administration’s use of the Commodity Credit Corporation, including decreasing the Secretary’s ability to spend billions of taxpayer dollars without telling Congress,” the aide added.

After lengthy negotiations did not produce a bipartisan agreement with Republicans, House Democrats introduced their own proposal Monday afternoon funding government until Dec. 11, moving “full steam ahead” on a vote Tuesday, according to a senior Democratic aide.

Recognizing the lack of an agreement, a senior House Democratic aide warned that the bill “may get stuck in the Senate” after House passage,

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House passes funding bill with GOP support to avert looming government shutdown

The House passed a bipartisan spending bill on Tuesday after reaching a deal with the White House to avert a government shutdown at the end of the month, keeping the federal government open until December.



a person standing in front of United States Supreme Court Building


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The Democratic-controlled House voted 359-57 on the interim spending measure to fund the government through December 11th. The legislation, known as a continuing resolution or “CR,” was hailed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in a statement Tuesday, who reached the deal with Republican leaders and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

The legislation boosts funding for nutrition benefits to families, aid to farmers, and funds various parts of the federal government.

“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,” Pelosi said. “We also increase accountability in the Commodity Credit Corporation, preventing funds for farmers from being misused for a Big Oil bailout.”

The resolution now heads to the Senate, but unclear when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will bring it to the floor. McConnell told reporters on Tuesday that he worked with Pelosi to replenish the Commodity Credit Corporation for aid to go directly to farmers.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., however, criticized the process, saying that the resolution is only a temporary stopgap measure.

“A lot of to and froing. A lot of people wanted this, a lot of people wanted that. A lot of people didn’t want this, a lot of people didn’t want that,” he said. “But we have an agreement that will keep the government functioning for the people from now until December 11th.”

He added, “I’m hopeful that everyone will put their heads together to get the appropriation process done and we’ll probably do it in an omnibus, not single appropriation bills. Which is not a good way to do it either.”

Video: To prevent a complete shutdown, keep me at 50% in a liberal state and 75% in a conservative state: Fertitta (CNBC)

To prevent a complete shutdown, keep me at 50% in a liberal state and 75% in a conservative state: Fertitta

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House overwhelmingly passes bipartisan spending deal to avert government shutdown

The deal was negotiated by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a chaotic series of events over the past several days. Talks abruptly collapsed late Friday just as a deal appeared within reach, and Pelosi released a partisan bill on Monday that was swiftly rejected by Republicans. But on Tuesday morning, Pelosi and Mnuchin resumed negotiations, and Pelosi announced late Tuesday that they had reached a deal.

The sticking point was demands from the Trump administration and Republicans — along with a handful of largely farm-state House Democrats — for an infusion of money into a farm bailout program that Trump has used to repay farmers hurt by his trade policies. In exchange for agreeing to the bailout money, Pelosi secured about $8 billion for a variety of nutrition programs, including for schoolchildren affected by the coronavirus pandemic — a significantly larger sum than had been on the table Friday.

The short-term spending legislation — known as a “continuing resolution,” or CR — would keep the federal government funded through Dec. 11.

“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,” Pelosi said. “Democrats secured urgently needed assistance for schoolchildren to receive meals despite the coronavirus’s disruption of their usual schedules.”

There was no immediate comment from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), but in light of the strong vote in the House, the Senate looked likely to approve the legislation.

Congress needs to pass a spending bill by Sept. 30, the last day in the 2020 fiscal year, or large portions of the government would begin to shut down. The bill also must be signed by Trump ahead of the shutdown deadline.

Even with much attention on Capitol Hill focused on the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, there was little appetite on either side for brinkmanship over a government shutdown.

Republicans secured provisions in the stopgap spending bill to replenish a $30 billion borrowing fund called the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), a New Deal-era program that Trump has used to reimburse farmers harmed by his trade policies and tariffs. Democratic leaders opposed the additional money, partly because they say Trump could use it for political purposes.

At a campaign rally in Wisconsin last week, Trump announced a new package of aid for farmers from the CCC, which he has used in an unprecedented way. Under previous administrations, the CCC was used for much more limited purposes, and some Democrats charge that Trump has essentially turned it into a slush fund.

But there are also several endangered House Democrats who support the program, including Cindy Axne and Abby Finkenauer of Iowa, freshman members who flipped GOP-held seats in 2018 and now face tough reelection races. Axne and Finkenauer both signed a letter along with Iowa’s two Republican senators, Charles E. Grassley and Joni Ernst, blasting exclusion of the CCC money from the

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House approves spending bill in effort to avoid government shutdown during pandemic

The House easily passed a temporary government-wide funding bill Tuesday evening in a bipartisan effort to keep the government running through the beginning of December.

The House voted 359-57 to approve the stop gap measure that will keep the government open through December 11. 56 Republicans and Rep. Justin Amash, I-Mich. voted against the measure, while Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., voted present.

Agreement on the bill came after considerable behind-the-scenes battling over proposed add-ons. The final agreement gives the administration continued immediate authority to dole out Agriculture Department subsidies in the run-up to Election Day. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., retreated from an initial draft that sparked a furor with Republicans and farm-state Democrats.

Instead, in talks Tuesday, Pelosi restored a farm aid funding patch sought by the administration, which has sparked the ire of Democrats who said it plays political favorites as it gives out bailout money to farmers and ranchers.

MNUCHIN, PELOSI HAVE ‘INFORMAL AGREEMENT’ TO GO FORWARD WITH GOVERNMENT FUNDING PACKAGE, SOURCE SAYS

In return, Pelosi won COVID-related food aid for the poor, including a higher food benefit for families whose children are unable to receive free or reduced lunches because schools are closed over the coronavirus. Another add-on would permit states to remove hurdles to food stamps and nutrition aid to low-income mothers that are more difficult to clear during the pandemic.

The deal permitted the measure to speed through the House after a swift debate that should ensure smooth sailing in the GOP-held Senate before next Wednesday’s deadline. There’s no appetite on either side for a government shutdown.

The measure is the bare minimum accomplishment for Capitol Hill’s powerful Appropriations committees, who pride themselves on their deal-making abilities despite gridlock in other corners of Congress. It came after bipartisan negotiations on a huge COVID-19 relief package imploded and appear unlikely to be rekindled — especially since the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has upended U.S. politics.

“We need to keep the government open but we also need additional COVID relief for the American people,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.

GOP-LED SENATE EYEING NEW ‘TARGETED’ COVID BILL 

The legislation — called a continuing resolution, or CR, in Washington-speak — would keep every federal agency running at current funding levels through Dec. 11, which will keep the government afloat past an election that could reshuffle Washington’s balance of power.

The measure also extends many programs whose funding or authorizations lapse on Sept. 30, including the federal flood insurance program, highway and transit programs, and a long set of extensions of various health programs, such as a provision to prevent Medicaid cuts to hospitals that serve many poor people.

It also finances the possible transition to a new administration if Joe Biden wins the White House and would stave off an unwelcome COVID-caused increase in Medicare Part B premiums for outpatient doctor visits.

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The underlying stopgap measure deals with the 30% of the federal government’s day-to-day

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House passes continuing resolution to avoid a shutdown

The House has passed a continuing resolution that includes nearly $8 billion more for nutrition assistance programs. The continuing resolution passed 359-57-1 Tuesday night, with only Republicans and libertarian Representative Justin Amash opposing it and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez voting present.

The resolution funds the government until December 11, avoiding a possible shutdown at the end of September. It also renews provisions of public health and transportation programs that were set to expire on November 30. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an agreement between House Democrats, Republicans and the Trump administration late Tuesday. 

“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,” Pelosi said in a statement. “We also increase accountability in the Commodity Credit Corporation, preventing funds for farmers from being misused for a Big Oil bailout.”

Democrats, Pelosi said, have renewed the “expiring lifeline of pandemic EBT for a full year.” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has been leading negotiations for the administration. 

The resolution now heads to the Senate where it’s expected to pass, now that a big sticking point — farm aid — has been included. 

Kimberly Brown contributed to this report

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