Pelosi expresses confidence lawmakers will avoid government shutdown

Pelosi expresses confidence lawmakers will avoid government shutdown
© Greg Nash

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi: Ginsburg successor must uphold commitment to 'equality, opportunity and justice for all' Bipartisan praise pours in after Ginsburg's death Pelosi orders Capitol flags at half-staff to honor Ginsburg MORE (D-Calif.) on Tuesday expressed confidence that Congress and the Trump administration will reach a deal this month to avoid a government shutdown, even though talks to provide additional coronavirus relief remain at an impasse. 

"We'll come to agreement on that, I feel quite certain," Pelosi said during an interview on Bloomberg TV. "I think that it's not in anybody's interest for the government to be shut down. It is to be avoided at all costs." 

Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinLawmakers fear voter backlash over failure to reach COVID-19 relief deal United Airlines, unions call for six-month extension of government aid House Democrats plan to unveil bill next week to avert shutdown MORE informally agreed during a phone conversation last week to pursue a short-term stopgap measure, known as a continuing resolution, that is free of controversial policy riders to fund the federal government past Sept. 30. 

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Pelosi stressed that they didn't reach a formal agreement but share the goal of avoiding a damaging shutdown a month before the November elections and in the midst of a pandemic. Numerous details of a stopgap measure, including its expiration date, still have to be worked out between the two parties. 

"The fact is, we did not come to an agreement. We separately acknowledged that it would be important for us to have a clean continuing resolution that they would not be heaping things on there that would be unacceptable for one side or the other. It only makes sense to do that. And I feel quite certain that we will get that done," Pelosi said.

Lawmakers won't have much time to reach a deal to avert a shutdown. The House is not scheduled to return to Washington until next week, and current government funding expires on Sept. 30. 

Pelosi acknowledged that President TrumpDonald John TrumpObama calls on Senate not to fill Ginsburg's vacancy until after election Planned Parenthood: 'The fate of our rights' depends on Ginsburg replacement Progressive group to spend M in ad campaign on Supreme Court vacancy MORE remains an unpredictable factor. Trump reversed course on a previously agreed-upon stopgap bill in December 2018 over funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall, leading to the longest-ever government shutdown. 

"If the president chooses to veto a continuing resolution, I would find it hard for him to do that. But who knows," Pelosi said. 

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Mnuchin said during an interview on "Fox News Sunday" over the weekend that he expected the stopgap bill to avoid a shutdown would last into December. 

“For now, the most important thing is to make sure at the end of the month we don’t shut down the government and we get something past the election,” Mnuchin said. 

Discussions between Pelosi, Mnuchin, Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerPelosi orders Capitol flags at half-staff to honor Ginsburg Ginsburg in statement before her death said she wished not to be replaced until next president is sworn in Democrats call for NRA Foundation to be prohibited from receiving donations from federal employees MORE (D-N.Y.) and White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsTrump reacts to Ginsburg's death: 'An amazing woman who led an amazing life' Trump carries on with rally, unaware of Ginsburg's death United Airlines, unions call for six-month extension of government aid MORE, meanwhile, have dragged on for more than a month with no deal in sight.

Democrats are pushing for an expansive package with a price tag of about $2.2 trillion, while the White House has proposed a smaller package of about $1.3 trillion.

Senate Republicans are planning to move forward this week with a slimmed-down $500 billion proposal, but the bill isn't expected to have the 60 votes needed to overcome a Democratic filibuster. 

The Senate GOP plan includes additional Paycheck Protection Program funding, $300 weekly unemployment insurance payments and liability protections for businesses and schools from lawsuits related to the coronavirus. 

Pelosi dismissed the bill from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellObama calls on Senate not to fill Ginsburg's vacancy until after election Planned Parenthood: 'The fate of our rights' depends on Ginsburg replacement Progressive group to spend M in ad campaign on Supreme Court vacancy MORE (R-Ky.) as "pathetic." 

"It's only a check the box so that some of his endangered Republican senators can go home and say, 'Well, see, I tried.' But it isn't trying. It's not even an attempt to do the right thing," Pelosi said.