House Passes Bill to Avoid Government Shutdown, Sends It to Senate

September 23, 2020 Updated: September 23, 2020

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin came to an agreement on Tuesday night to avert a government shutdown at the end of September in the midst of several high-profile Congressional battles.

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

Members of the House approved the deal by a measure of 359-57, with one member voting present. The legislation still has to be approved by the Senate and signed into law by President Donald Trump.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) previously said the Senate would not pass a bill that didn’t include funds for the Commodity Credit Corporation.

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

Epoch Times Photo
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin speaks during a news conference to announce the Trump administration’s restoration of sanctions on Iran, at the U.S. State Department in Washington, on Sept. 21, 2020. (Patrick Semansky/Pool via Reuters)

It’s not clear now when the Senate will take up the bill, with just over a week left to go in the month. The continuing resolution will fund the government until mid-December.

A lack of an agreement on government funding would further complicate a fraught congressional session with less than two months to go before the presidential election.

Mnuchin and Pelosi previously stated that the resolution would not be tied to broader stimulus aid. Talks between the White House and Pelosi stalled last month over several outstanding issues, with Republicans saying Democrats’ bill—the HEROES Act—is too expensive. Meanwhile, the two parties were at odds over funding state and city governments as well as unemployment benefits.

It’s not clear when the two sides will meet again on stimulus legislature to offset damages caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.

Meanwhile, Congress is largely focused on the aftermath of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death last week. Trump and McConnell both have said they would attempt to nominate a new judge and appear to have enough votes in the Senate to confirm a new justice in the coming days. Democrats have cried foul, saying that a justice should not be nominated with only several weeks before the November election.