Political News

Lawmakers still have no bipartisan deal to avert shutdown as McConnell takes issue with Democrats' stopgap measure

Posted September 21, 2020 2:04 p.m. EDT

— House Democrats on Monday introduced a short-term bill to keep the federal government funded and operating through December 11. The legislation is intended to avert a shutdown at the end of the month, but was unveiled without the backing of Republicans and a bipartisan deal on funding has not yet been reached.

Lawmakers have been attempting to negotiate a spending deal to ensure the government stays open past the end of the fiscal year on September 30 when funding will expire if not renewed. Negotiations continued over the weekend, but Republicans and Democrats have still not secured a bipartisan agreement. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized the legislation from Democrats on Monday after its release, underscoring that the two sides still have differences to be resolved.

In a statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the House Democrat-released measure "will avert a catastrophic shutdown in the middle of the ongoing pandemic, wildfires and hurricanes, and keep government open until December 11, when we plan to have bipartisan legislation to fund the government for this fiscal year."

For now, it's unclear what the next step will be for Republicans.

One sticking point in negotiations has been that Republicans have requested that more funding for the Commodity Credit Corporation be included. The CCC is an entity that provides money for farmers who have experienced losses. It's been responsible for paying farmers for funding lost as a result of recent trade wars. An increase in funding for the CCC was not included in the House Democratic legislation.

McConnell attacked the proposal on Monday, tweeting, "House Democrats' rough draft of a government funding bill shamefully leaves out key relief and support that American farmers need. This is no time to add insult to injury and defund help for farmers and rural America."

Evan Hollander, the communications director for Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee, responded, tweeting that House Democrats " already passed more than $30 billion in targeted and tailored emergency aid to farm country. @senatemajldr has blocked it for months. This GOP proposal isn't about farmers — it's about a political slush fund for the Trump re-election campaign."

It's possible that Democrats could pass their own stopgap bill and send it to the Senate, at which point McConnell could amend it to include funding for farmers and then send it back. Those next steps are all part of active discussions right now.

The fight over government funding is taking place against the backdrop of a contentious battle over the Supreme Court vacancy created by the passing of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Pelosi on Sunday said she would not leverage a government shutdown in order to slow down Republicans' push to fill the Supreme Court vacancy following the Ginsburg's death.

"None of us has any interest in shutting down government, that has such a harmful and shameful impact on so many people in our country," Pelosi told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week."

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