Trump signs bill to prevent government shutdown after funding briefly lapses

by Jacob Pramuk | CNBC
October 1, 2020

President Donald Trump on Thursday signed a bill to keep the government running into December after funding briefly lapsed.

The Senate passed the temporary spending bill on Wednesday in an 84-10 vote as lawmakers scrambled to prevent a shutdown. The House approved the legislation last week.

The president did not approve the bill before a midnight Thursday deadline to fund the government, and U.S. spending authority temporarily lapsed. But the Office of Management and Budget never ordered agencies to cease operations.

Trump signed the measure into law early Thursday after returning from a campaign event in Minnesota.

The law will ensure the government does not go through a crippling shutdown during a pandemic and about a month before the 2020 election.

It keeps federal agencies running until Dec. 11. Before then, lawmakers aim to hash out spending legislation to keep the government running through Sept. 2021.

Democrats and Republicans reached a deal on a temporary funding bill last week after a disagreement over whether to include farm aid money. The sides eventually settled on a proposal that includes guardrails to prevent the agriculture funds from going to large oil companies, according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

She said the measure includes $8 billion for nutrition assistance for schoolchildren and families, and refreshes the Pandemic EBT food aid program for a full year.

Getting past the shutdown threat would theoretically give Congress more flexibility to break an ongoing dispute over how to structure a fifth coronavirus aid package before the election. Both Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Pelosi said Wednesday that they are “hopeful” about the prospects of a deal and will continue relief discussions.

Democratic leaders and the Trump administration have made little progress toward a stimulus deal since a series of formal talks broke apart last month. A fight over the Supreme Court vacancy will also likely take up much of the Senate’s time before the election.

Republicans aim to quickly confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s choice to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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