Senate passes stopgap government measure to avoid government shutdown

The Senate on Wednesday passed a resolution with broad bipartisan support to fund the government through Dec. 11, averting the possibility of a shutdown before the new fiscal year begins at midnight.

Trump, who is holding a re-election rally in Minnesota, is expected to sign the measure before the deadline. The stopgap measure passed by an 84-10 vote in the GOP-controlled Senate. The Democratic-controlled House passed the legislation, known as a continuing resolution or "CR," last week with a 359-57 vote.

The legislation includes a bailout for farmers — which Trump and Republicans fought to have included — in exchange for boosts in funding to nutrition benefits to poor families requested by Democrats. It also continues to fund various parts of the federal government.

Farming and food benefits to poor families appeared to be the only coronavirus-related items included in the resolution as top Democrats, the White House and Republicans continue to haggle over continued Covid-19 relief to families.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., held a meeting with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Wednesday to again discuss the next round of coronavirus aid. The House plans to vote on an updated aid package on Thursday that includes compromises Democrats have made, she said.

“We will be proceeding with our vote ... on the updated Heroes Act in order to formalize our proffer to Republicans in the negotiations to address the health and economic catastrophe in our country," she said in a statement.

The interim spending bill also sets up a potential political fight toward the end of the year when it expires and lawmakers have to pass another temporary spending resolution or an annual spending bill just before a new Congress is sworn in and, potentially, a new administration.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., however, criticized the process last week, saying that the resolution is only temporary and both chambers need to work on passing traditional spending bills.

"I'm hopeful that everyone will put their heads together to get the appropriation process done and we'll probably do it in an omnibus, not single appropriation bills, which is not a good way to do it either," he said.