A procedural vote was held by an overwhelming 82-6 vote to narrow the debate and pave the way for a final vote to pass the spending measure. The final approval was set a few hours before the end of state funding at midnight on Wednesday, unless the heads of state and government agree to an earlier time frame.
The ongoing resolution, while falling far short of bipartisan funding plans for the full year, is the result of bipartisan negotiations and an agreement between House Spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that appeared to fall apart a few weeks before the funding deadline. However, the deal, once signed, will remove the risk of closure ahead of the November presidential election, although it does include the possibility of a funding battle and possible closure after the election and just before the start of a new Congress.
The bipartisan funding agreement signed by Pelosi and Mnuchin contains a provision that is likely to send $ 10 billion to the Commodity Credit Corporation – a priority for Republicans and bipartisan agrarian states and counties that will replenish vital aid to farmers. This includes some caveats after Democrats raised concerns that the money was being used by the Trump administration to distribute funds to preferred political interests.
The move also includes nearly US $ 8 billion in food aid – a key democratic priority during the negotiations.
After the collapse of the negotiations, the Democrats initially worked out a stopgap solution that left out agricultural and food aid and were ready to vote on that measure last week.
However, the threat of postponing action without bipartisan consensus – and the possibility of agricultural Democrats dropping out – heightened the risk of a government stall, given the tightening timeframe before the government’s funding deadline on September 30, and ultimately both sides turned to Table back and hammered out the deal.
Once the Senate passes the stopgap, the appropriators’ attention will be focused on what can be achieved over the next two months. Legislators in both houses say the goal remains to pass and reconcile financial bills for the remainder of the fiscal year. But they also acknowledge that the November election results will play an important role in what will be done before the new Congress – and possibly the new administration – takes office in 2021.
This story was updated on Tuesday with further developments.