Lawmakers Back Off a Deal to Avoid a Shutdown in October

Lawmakers Back Off a Deal to Avoid a Shutdown in October

Reuters/Tom Brenner


UPDATE: The Washington Post's Erica Werner is reporting that the tentative deal has fallen apart: "A possible deal on a stopgap spending bill to avert a pre-election government shutdown looked uncertain late Friday after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin did not come to terms. Two Republican aides familiar with the situation said Pelosi (D-Calif.) had essentially backed out of a deal with Mnuchin that would have traded farm bailout money the White House wants for $2 billion in child nutrition spending Democrats want."

Here's where things stood based on reporting earlier Friday: 

Congressional negotiators on Friday reached an agreement “in principle” on a short-term spending deal that would avert a government shutdown on October 1, when the next fiscal year begins. Assuming the agreement holds, the House is expected to vote on the bill next week, followed by the Senate.

Missing a self-imposed noon deadline, the deal was held up by a White House demand for $30 billion to replenish a Depression-era fund that has been used to provide aid for farmers hurt financially by President Trump’s trade policies. Trump took to Twitter to press his case Friday, charging that “Pelosi wants to take 30 Billion Dollars away from our great Farmers. Can’t let that happen!”

Initially resisting the White House request – a Democratic aide said it was “an abuse of taxpayer dollars to give this administration more money so the president can grab headlines with announcements at campaign rallies” – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) backed down late in the day. In exchange, Democrats will get one of their funding requests, about $2 billion for nutrition assistance for children affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Democrats reportedly will not get some of their other demands, however, including $3.6 billion for election security and an extension of the December 31 deadline for the Census Bureau to turn over the data from the latest national count to Congress.

The deal would extend current funding levels until December 11, well short of the February 26 end date Democrats had been seeking, potentially setting up another contentious standoff in a lame-duck Congress and during a possible presidential transition.