House passes short-term funding bill to avert shutdown
The House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill to temporarily extend funding for the federal government and avert a shutdown at the end of the month.
The bill, approved 301-123, will extend funding at current levels with limited exceptions through November 21, potentially setting up an end-of-the-year showdown over government spending that could drag into the holiday season.
The Senate will need to pass the bill next for it to make it to President Donald Trump’s desk for his signature.
“We must pass a continuing resolution to avoid another government shutdown,” House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey, a Democrat from New York, said in a statement.
Congressional leaders had hoped to complete negotiations earlier this week, but several sticking points arose, including the Commodity Credit Corp., the fund Trump has used to distribute billions of dollars in bailouts to farmers suffering from the effects of his trade war with China.
The continuing resolution includes language to ensure the corporation can keep making payments to farmers affected by tariffs, as the administration requested. But it also mandates that Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue issue a report by the end of October detailing estimates for payments from the program, as well as a state-by-state, commodity-by-commodity analysis of the damage caused by retaliatory tariffs in Trump’s trade war, and other trade barriers to farmers.
For now, there is optimism on Capitol Hill that a shutdown can be averted, but as lawmakers work on the appropriations process ahead of the end of the fiscal year on September 30, tensions between Democrats and Republicans are spilling out into the open.
The Democratic-led House has already passed its appropriations bills, while the Senate is just getting started.
On Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters that she isn’t concerned about the Senate appropriations process, saying, “They know their timetable. They know what they have to do.”
“Hopefully, they’ll get moving so that we can have this all done in a predictable and well-organized way,” the California Democrat said.
A dispute over the border wall ultimately led to a partial government shutdown last year that extended into the start of the new, 116th Congress with Democrats refusing to sign off on the President’s demand for money for his signature campaign promise.
That shutdown broke the record for the longest government shutdown in US history. The partial shutdown impacted roughly a quarter of the federal government and hundreds of thousands of federal workers.