Pelosi announces bipartisan deal to avoid shutdown

U.S. & World

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday that Democrats reached a deal with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Republicans to avoid a government shutdown.

In a sweeping bipartisan vote, the House passed a temporary government-wide funding bill Tuesday night.

The legislation, called a continuing resolution, or CR, would keep every federal agency running at current funding levels through Dec. 11, which will keep the government afloat past the election and possibly 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.

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. Pelosi 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.

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.

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

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.

Pelosi had previously said that this temporary budget deal would “avert a catastrophic shutdown in the middle of the ongoing pandemic, wildfires and hurricanes.” 

The federal government’s budget was set to run out on Sept. 30.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

This story is developing. Refresh for updates.

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