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House Democrats plan to unveil bill next week to avert shutdown

House Democrats plan to unveil bill next week to avert shutdown
© Bonnie Cash

Congressional leaders and the White House struggled to finalize a stopgap spending bill on Friday to avert a government shutdown on Oct. 1 and keep agencies funded into December.

House Democrats had planned to introduce legislation on Friday that would fund the government through Dec. 11, according to two aides. But the bill is now expected to be unveiled on Monday with both parties still finalizing details.

The main hangups have included the expiration date and aid for farmers who've been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

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Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo On The Money: Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi bullish, Trump tempers optimism | Analysis: Nearly 1M have run out of jobless benefits Overnight Health Care: CDC expands definition of 'close contact' after COVID-19 report | GOP coronavirus bill blocked in Senate | OxyContin maker agrees to B settlement with Trump administration MORE (D-Calif.) told Bloomberg TV around midday Friday that she still expected that the stopgap bill will be filed later in the day and that the negotiators were "very close."

"Now we're just working out the details. But we hope to have it today so we can bring it to the floor early next week and then go to the Senate," Pelosi said.

Republicans and the White House have been pushing for the bill, known as a continuing resolution (CR), to last into mid-December to carry lawmakers through the elections.

But a later expiration date into early next year could be more beneficial to Democrats if they win the White House or the Senate, instead of negotiating again with the Trump administration in the lame-duck session after the November elections.

Democrats ultimately opted for the Dec. 11 expiration date, avoiding a protracted back-and-forth over the stopgap's length as lawmakers aim to leave Washington by the end of this month so they can return home to campaign.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpJudge rules to not release Russia probe documents over Trump tweets Trump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Obama to campaign for Biden in Florida MORE announced during a rally in Wisconsin on Thursday that his administration would make an additional $13 billion available to help farmers recover from the pandemic.

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Trump has previously made billions in payouts available to farmers to soften the blow of his administration's trade war with China.

The Trump administration is pushing to ensure that farm payments can continue flowing through the Commodity Credit Corporation, which has a borrowing limit of $30 billion.

"Pelosi wants to take 30 Billion Dollars away from our great Farmers. Can’t let that happen!" Trump tweeted.

House Democrats are hoping to vote on the stopgap spending bill early next week so that the Senate has enough time to take it up before the Sept. 30 deadline. But with the delayed release of the bill text, that timeframe could potentially slip. 

The House Rules Committee, which sets up legislation for floor debate, has allotted time on Monday to prepare a CR.

If both chambers manage to pass a spending bill in the coming days, it's possible that the Senate will allow members to leave Washington at the end of next week and hit the campaign trail.

Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinTrump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Trump casts doubt on hopes for quick stimulus deal after aides expressed optimism Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid MORE agreed earlier this month to pursue a "clean" bill to keep the government funded that is free of controversial policy riders.

Updated at 7:15 p.m.