House Passes 7-Week Spending Bill, Setting Up November Shutdown Fight

Yuval Rosenberg

The House on Thursday afternoon passed a short-term spending bill to fund the government through November 21 and avoid a shutdown when the new fiscal year starts at the beginning of October.

The Senate is expected to vote on the measure next week, and President Trump is expected to sign it.

The House’s 301-123 vote came after lawmakers reached an agreement Wednesday on the stopgap funding bill. The deal was sealed, Bloomberg reports, after Democrats agreed to continue funding for the Trump administration’s emergency aid to farmers hurt by the trade war with China and other countries. Democratic leaders had threatened to leave out those provisions but backed off under pressure from moderates in their party, The Washington Post says.

The stopgap funding measure also temporarily extends the National Flood Insurance Program and the Export-Import bank and some health programs.

Congress must still hash out fiscal 2020 spending details under the two-year budget deal they agreed to earlier this year, and that process has gotten bogged down as lawmakers battle over border barrier funding.

“The need for the stopgap measure shows how fundamental spending issues remain unresolved and deeply problematic, even though they were supposed to have been largely dispatched by a sweeping budget and debt ceiling deal completed over the summer,” the Post’s Erica Werner says. “And some lawmakers, particularly Democrats, are already predicting that they are going to end up right where they were last winter, when Trump’s demands for additional funding for his wall forced the nation into a record-long 35-day partial government shutdown.”

Senate Democrats on Wednesday blocked a Republican attempt to move ahead with a defense spending bill and three other funding measures. Democrats oppose backfilling Pentagon funds diverted by the Trump administration toward barrier construction, and they have pushed for language in the defense spending bill to keep Trump from raiding Pentagon funds going forward.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby, a Republican from Alabama, said the deadlock could result in a full-year stopgap spending bill, which would fund agencies next year based on this year’s spending instructions, according to Bloomberg.

Read more at The Washington Post, Bloomberg and Roll Call.

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