US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks at a press conference at the US Capitol on September 22, 2020 in Washington, DC, as McConnell said in a statement that the Senate would take up President Donald Trumps nominee for the Supreme Court following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Nicholas Kamm | AFP | Getty Images
The Senate passed a bill Wednesday to fund the government into December and prevent a shutdown at the end of the month.
The House approved the legislation last week. Once President Donald Trump signs it into law, the measure will ensure government funding does not lapse during a pandemic and just weeks before the 2020 election.
The plan 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.
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.
This story is developing. Please check back for updates.