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House lawmakers reach deal to avert shutdown

House Democrats reached a deal with Republicans on legislation to avert a government shutdown after rekindling talks over disputed farm assistance, with a vote planned as soon as Tuesday night.
 
Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: McConnell says he would give Trump-backed coronavirus deal a Senate vote | Pelosi, Mnuchin see progress, but no breakthrough | Trump, House lawyers return to court in fight over financial records Progress, but no breakthrough, on coronavirus relief McConnell says he would give Trump-backed coronavirus deal a vote in Senate MORE (D-Calif.) said in a statement that Democrats had reached an agreement to add nearly $8 billion in nutrition assistance for low-income children and families in exchange for "accountability" in assistance for farmers sought by the Trump administration.
 
"We have reached an agreement with Republicans on the [continuing resolution] to add nearly $8 billion in desperately needed nutrition assistance for hungry schoolchildren and families. We also increase accountability in the Commodity Credit Corporation, preventing funds for farmers from being misused for a Big Oil bailout," Pelosi said in a statement.
 
The legislation extends government funding through Dec. 11, setting up another fight to avoid a shutdown in the lame-duck session after the November elections.
 
House Democrats initially introduced a spending bill on Monday that did not include a provision pursued by the Trump administration to ensure that farm aid payments continue flowing through the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC).

Democratic leaders had originally planned to vote Tuesday afternoon on their bill despite the lack of GOP support, setting up a potential partisan showdown with time running out before current funding expires on Sept. 30.

But the two parties ultimately resumed negotiations on Tuesday and released an agreement that addresses the farm aid as well as nutrition assistance for low-income children and families.

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The agreement struck between the two parties adds $8 billion in nutrition assistance programs and includes measures sought by Democrats to prohibit CCC payments to fossil fuel refiners and importers.

It expands an expiring program created by a previous coronavirus relief law earlier this year that provides low-income children who normally receive free or reduced lunch at school with meals while in-person instruction is suspended due to the pandemic to include child care centers impacted by pandemic-related closures. The bill also allows states to continue flexibility for food stamp requirements for another year.

The Senate is likely to take up the bill as soon as this week.

Both parties are strongly incentivized to avoid a government shutdown, given the proximity to the November elections and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Senate Republicans are also planning to move as quickly as possible on filling the Supreme Court vacancy left by the late Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgLGBTQ voters must show up at the polls, or risk losing progress Cunningham, Tillis locked in tight race in North Carolina: poll 51 percent want Barrett seated on Supreme Court: poll MORE, who died on Friday.