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 Easily Passes Stopgap Funding Bill, Averting Shutdown | Business News

By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press

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

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Deal reached on stopgap funding bill; quick House vote scheduled

Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., a freshman who knocked off a GOP incumbent two years ago, tweeted Tuesday that taking farm spending authority out of the stopgap was a “partisan move that slows down much-needed relief for farmers and agribusinesses.”

Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, the top Democrat on the Agriculture Committee, said Monday that the farm money has been used as a “slush fund” for favored political interests, including oil refiners.

Other Democrats had also picked up on that talking point after Reuters reported earlier this month that the Trump administration had considered diverting up to $300 million in CCC funds to refiners who were denied waivers from costly renewable fuels quotas. Reuters reported late Monday that the tentative plan had been shelved.

Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said he didn’t know anything about such a plan. “There’s nothing that we can find in there for Big Oil, or small oil, or anything,” he said.

The House Agriculture Committee’s top Republican, K. Michael Conaway of Texas, had tried Monday to offer an amendment that would restore both the farm payments and the school nutrition program extension, but was blocked by Rules Committee Democrats.

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House leaders postpone vote on stopgap funding bill

Democrats had balked at a push by the Trump administration and Republican lawmakers to pump more than $20 billion into Commodity Credit Corporation funding to make more payments to farmers and ranchers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, the top Democrat on the Agriculture Committee, said the farm money has been used as a “slush fund” for favored political interests. Democrats stripped the money out of the resolution that was introduced Monday, along with $2.7 billion for a program designed to provide subsidized meals to children who normally receive them when schools are open.

Republicans objected to the decision to strip the funding. Senate Finance Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, told reporters Tuesday that Democrats were “abandoning farmers” by denying them the payments.

The House Agriculture Committee’s top Republican, K. Michael Conaway of Texas, tried to offer an amendment that would restore both the farm payments and the school nutrition program extension, but Democrats on the Rules Committee blocked it.

The minority is offering a motion to recommit during floor debate, however, which if adopted would add provisions included in the motion to the underlying bill as if it were a regular amendment. Republicans weren’t saying what their motion would entail, but the Conaway amendment or something like it would be eligible.

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House Republican introduces amendment to include farm aid in stopgap funding bill



Mike Conaway wearing a suit and tie: House Republican introduces amendment to include farm aid in stopgap funding bill


© Greg Nash
House Republican introduces amendment to include farm aid in stopgap funding bill

Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), the top Republican on the House Agriculture Committee, on Monday introduced an amendment to a stopgap government funding measure that would provide farm aid and extend child nutritional assistance during the coronavirus pandemic.

House Democrats earlier Monday introduced a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government funding through Dec. 11.

Negotiators aimed to release a bipartisan stopgap bill on Friday, but talks collapsed after the parties were unable to reach an agreement on whether a provision to provide additional payments to farmers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic through the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), which is capped at a borrowing limit of $30 billion, should be included.

House Democrats ultimately opted to omit the language to provide more funding to CCC on Monday, a move that sparked strong backlash from Republicans in both chambers and leaving just over a week to come to an agreement and avoid a damaging government shutdown.

Conaway’s amendment would change the bill to include language to “reimburse the Commodity Credit Corporation for net realized losses sustained” and extend the increase in child food benefits through 2021.

“This amendment is simple and straightforward. It reflects the bipartisan agreement that was reached last week, and then reneged on by the Democratic leadership on Friday. My amendment replenishes the CCC, the Commodity Credit Corporation, and provides pandemic funding increases for SNAP,” Conaway said during a House Rules Committee mark up following the bill’s release.

“Up until recently, the CCC has been replenished on a bipartisan basis, without controversy. But once again, Democrat leadership has upended this long-standing practice, and I have no real idea why. Democrat leaders are mad at the Trump administration, because they’ve used the CCC dollars to provide trade aid to farmers or ranchers and dairy producers hurt by China, and apparently now the Democrats are mad that the administration is providing CCC dollars to help farmers or ranchers and dairy producers hurt by COVID-19.”

Democrats, however, argue a sweeping Democrat-led relief package that passed the House in May provided relief for farmers that have taken a financial hit as a result of the pandemic and allege the administration is using the funding for political gain.

“What the Trump Administration wanted added to the clean CR wasn’t help for farmers – it was more than $20 billion more taxpayer dollars that the Trump Administration views as a bottomless, unaccountable political slush fund,” one senior Democratic aide said.

Republicans have indicated that the Democrat-led bill faces an uphill battle without the CCC language. Congress faces a Sept. 30 deadline to avert a government shutdown, and the showdown over the bill comes just weeks ahead of election day.

“House Democrats’ rough draft of a government funding bill shamefully leaves out key relief and support that American farmers need. This is no time to add insult to injury and defund help for farmers and rural America,” Senate Majority Leader

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House Democrats introduce stopgap measure funding government until Dec. 11

House Democrats Monday introduced a stopgap spending bill that would keep the government running until Dec. 11.



Nita Lowey wearing glasses


© Provided by Washington Examiner


The measure maintains fiscal year 2020 spending levels and provides more time for lawmakers to work out a deal on a bill that funds the government for the remainder of the year. It does not include new federal coronavirus aid. Democrats and Republicans have yet to work out a deal on a new round of funding to address the impact of the pandemic.

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House and Senate lawmakers face a Sept. 30 deadline to pass a bill to fund the government. That’s when current funding expires and the fiscal year ends.

The House is expected to vote on the bill this week.

Senate Republicans had called for a measure that extended funding until Dec. 18.

Democrats blame Senate Republicans for the lack of movement on a long term deal.

The Senate Appropriations Committee, controlled by Republicans, stalled movement on spending bills after Democrats threatened to attempt to add police reform measures and coronavirus aid.

“While the House did its job and passed bills funding nearly every government agency, Senate Republicans did not even begin the appropriations process,” House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey, a New York Democrat, said Monday. “Because of their irresponsibility, a continuing resolution is sadly necessary. This clean continuing resolution keeps government open while giving Congress additional time to negotiate annual appropriations bills that will invest for the people.”

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Original Author: Susan Ferrechio

Original Location: House Democrats introduce stopgap measure funding government until Dec. 11

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House Democrats introduce stopgap spending bill nine days before government shutdown deadline

Nonetheless, White House officials suggested Monday that they might be able to accept the so-called “continuing resolution,” or CR, even without the farm money.

“We do prefer additional farm aid in the CR…. Most of all we want a clean CR to keep the government open,” White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters at the White House.

It was not immediately clear if Senate Republicans would support the legislation, if the House passes it this week as expected and sends it to the Senate.

Much of Washington’s attention is focused on the coming Supreme Court nomination battle following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and neither party has shown interest in a high-stakes government shutdown showdown weeks ahead of the election.

Democrats oppose the farm bailout money because they view it as a political payoff to farmers hurt by Trump’s trade policies. The president announced a new round of aid to farmers in a visit last week to battleground Wisconsin, coming from the same fund that would be replenished by the new funding stream the administration was seeking as part of the stopgap spending bill.

At one point Friday Pelosi and Mnuchin had appeared to reach a tentative deal to trade the farm bailout money for food assistance for schoolkids affected by the pandemic. But that agreement never materialized. Republicans accused Pelosi of backing out of a deal with Mnuchin, while Democrats insisted there wasn’t really a deal to begin with.

The short-term spending bill, as introduced in the House, also does not include any new provisions related to economic aid for the coronavirus. Talks around a new coronavirus relief bill are essentially dead, despite pressure on Pelosi from moderate House Democrats to revive them.

Congress in recent years has frequently failed to pass the 12 annual must-pass spending bills to fund government agencies on time, and has had to resort to short-term spending bills. There have also been a number of government shutdowns, with a lengthy one running from December 2018 until January 2019.

Although a large portion of the federal budget — including programs like Medicare and Social Security — runs on autopilot, funding for government agencies including the Pentagon and Department of Health and Human Services must be renewed annually by Congress.

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No stopgap deal yet; House Democrats prep fallback bill

Negotiations to avert a partial government shutdown in 10 days were at a standstill Monday morning.

House Democrats were planning to file their own version of a bill before the Rules Committee meets at 1 p.m. that would remove agriculture and nutrition policy riders that were in dispute late Friday. That decision wasn’t sitting well with Senate Republicans, however, increasing prospects for a legislative ping-pong match and sending an amended version back to the House close to the Sept. 30 deadline.

The House bill would preserve the Dec. 11 end date both parties had agreed to Friday, but would drop a $30 billion replenishment of Commodity Credit Corporation funds for farm payments, which the White House and congressional Republicans have sought. It would also drop a $2.7 billion extension of the expiring Pandemic EBT program sought by Democrats, which provides meals for children who would normally receive free or reduced-price lunches when schools are open.

Those provisions had been tentatively agreed to as part of a “deal in principle” on Friday, according to sources involved in the talks. But when word got around, some Democrats balked at what they viewed as insufficient food aid for low-income families compared to the generous funding for farmers and ranchers.

[Stopgap funding talks bleed into weekend amid farm aid pushback]

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House Democrats prep fallback option on stopgap funding

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, without quick reimbursement, the CCC may be unable to make regular payments for farm bill programs as early as next month.

A similar issue temporarily held up stopgap funding talks last year, when the Trump administration had rolled out support programs for farmers affected by the president’s trade dispute with China.

One person familiar with the discussions said Democrats might agree to the commodity program funding if Republicans backed off their opposition to extending the census deadlines, including a Dec. 31 deadline to deliver population counts to Trump.

That would essentially put the redistricting process in his administration’s hands, while Democrats want to extend the process into next year when Biden might be president. Some Republicans also want to extend the census deadlines so the agency has more time to complete its work, citing fears of a rushed count in remote parts of the country like Alaska.

Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin agreed weeks ago that they would keep the CR “clean” of extraneous bills and provisions that could slow down talks or create political issues for either party. But as with any must-pass legislation, jockeying for late additions, particularly with the campaign’s home stretch around the corner, was an issue.

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