Mnuchin, Pelosi reach informal deal to avoid government shutdown

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 and 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.) have informally agreed to pursue a clean, short-term stopgap measure to avert a government shutdown at the end of the month, sources in both parties confirmed Thursday.

That means the continuing resolution (CR) needed to keep the government open past Sept. 30 would be free of controversial policy riders that have bogged down previous funding bills, significantly lowering the odds of a shutdown leading up to the crucial Nov. 3 elections.

The tentative deal also means the government funding bill and a new coronavirus relief package being negotiated between Pelosi and Mnuchin would not be part of the same talks.

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Both Mnuchin and Pelosi, who spoke Tuesday, agreed to “work to avoid a shutdown and keep the government open, and that the best way to do that is a clean CR,” said a source familiar with the talks.

“House Democrats support a clean continuing resolution,” added Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters Thursday: "We do believe that we'll be able to get funding to avoid a shutdown."

The duration of the CR is not clear at this point, but the most likely option is that the government will be funded until December, when Congress would need to return for a lame-duck session to pass another short-term bill to fund the government into 2021.

The sources familiar with the talks said it’s possible any coronavirus relief deal reached this month could still hitch a ride on the CR but emphasized the items would run on separate tracks.

Updated 10:06 p.m.