Trump signs bill averting shutdown after brief funding lapse

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President Trump signed a bill to extend current levels of government funding into the new fiscal year late Wednesday night, averting a shutdown after allowing government funding to lapse briefly.

Trump did not sign the bill, which passed in the House last week and in the Senate on Wednesday, until after returning from a rally in Minnesota after midnight.

The White House told agencies not to shut down despite the fact that legal funding ran out at midnight because Trump was expected to sign it quickly upon his return, as Politico first reported. A similar lapse took place for several hours in February of 2018 with little consequence.

The continuing resolution will allow the government to keep functioning in the new fiscal year, which began at midnight, by keeping funds flowing until Dec. 11.

The bill, which passed in the House last week and in the Senate earlier Wednesday evening, represented a rare moment of bipartisan cooperation in the bitter run-up to the election.

Democrats and Republicans have bitterly clashed over a fifth COVID-19 relief bill and the GOP plan to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to fill the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Supreme Court seat ahead of the election.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin agreed to keep the government funding question separate from the COVID-19 negotiations to ensure those disagreements did not also shutter the government just weeks ahead of a crucial election.

Still, the sides had to negotiate out a compromise on increasing funds to the Commodity Credit Corporation, which Republicans said was a key program for farmers and Democrats said was being used as a slush fund for political priorities.

They agreed to add restrictions over its use, barring payments to fossil fuel refiners and importers, and adding $8 billion to nutrition assistance programs.

While the measure puts off a potential shutdown until the lame-duck session, Congress and the White House will have to finalize 12 annual spending bills or approve an additional extension come Dec. 11.

The House passed 10 of the 12 bills with party-line votes earlier in the summer, but the Senate has yet to unveil a single bill amid infighting over hot-button issues such as police reform and COVID-19 relief.

Congress’s next steps are likely to depend on whether Democrats win control of the White House and Senate in November’s election.

Tags Continuing resolution Donald Trump Nancy Pelosi Ruth Bader Ginsburg Steven Mnuchin

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