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Senate Votes to Advance Stopgap Spending Bill

September 29, 2020 by Dan McCue
The U.S. Capitol, Aug. 5, 2020. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON – The Senate voted to advance a stopgap spending bill Tuesday night, the penultimate step to avoiding a government shutdown at midnight Wednesday.

The vote to limit debate on the measure paves the way for a final vote in the chamber on Wednesday afternoon.

The House overwhelmingly approved the continuing resolution, called the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act, by a vote of 359-57 last week, after the Senate failed to pass any of the 12 spending bills for FY 2021.

The spending bill, which would keep the government funded through December 11, is the result of bipartisan negotiations and an agreement between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Once voted on by the Senate, it will be sent to President Donald Trump for enactment, thus eliminating the threat of a government shutdown prior to the November election.

The final deal came together after Speaker Pelosi restored farm aid funding 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.

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