Trump Signs Stopgap Bill to Avert Government Shutdown

Move comes shortly after Senate passed the bill late Wednesday
October 1, 2020 Updated: October 1, 2020

President Donald Trump signed a stopgap spending bill in the early hours of Thursday to extend government funding through to Dec. 11, averting a government shutdown as the new fiscal year began at midnight.

The bill was approved in the Senate by a bipartisan 84-10 vote late Wednesday. Trump signed the bill shortly after returning from a campaign rally in Duluth, Minnesota.

The temporary spending bill—H.R. 8337, the “Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act”—is required to maintain current funding levels to keep federal agencies running and extend most programs because the Senate has not acted on any of the 12 annual spending bills for the fiscal year that ends on Sept. 30, 2021. These bills deal with some 30 percent of the federal government’s day-to-day budget.

Trump’s signing of the bill allows appropriators and congressional leaders until Dec. 11 to work out budget details dealing with the 12 spending bills, including for military operations, healthcare, national parks, space programs, and airport and border security. Discussions concern nearly $1.4 trillion in funding.

On Dec. 11, Congress will return to the government funding question during its post election session where they will have to consider yet another extension, or will have finalized the 12 spending bills by then.

US capitol
Sunlight shines through the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Sept. 20, 2020. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

The House of Representatives approved the bill last week after having reached a deal with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The bill includes nearly $8 billion in nutrition assistance for children who normally receive school lunches amid the widespread shutdown of schools as a result of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.

It would also keep payments flowing through the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) program providing aid to farmers—something the Trump administration wanted—while adding on accountability measures.

The bill also extends programs such as 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.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Mnuchin on Wednesday failed to reach an agreement for a fifth relief package amid the CCP virus pandemic. The talks between the two continue.

Before the talks, the White House had said Trump could agree to a $1.3 trillion bill.

Jack Phillips and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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