House passes deal on stopgap funding, avoids government shutdown

House and Senate leaders reached a bipartisan agreement Tuesday night to pass a three-month funding stopgap, averting a government shutdown in the midst of a pandemic and a short time before the November elections.

In a 359-57 vote, the House passed H.R. 8337, which extends federal government funding until Dec. 11, when lawmakers would have to renew it again. The end of the federal fiscal year is Sept. 30.

Democrats secured $8 billion in nutritional programs for low income families and children and extensions to the Pandemic EBT Program, which provides benefits to replace school meals for students.

“To help the millions of families struggling to keep food on the table during the pandemic, Democrats have renewed the vital, expiring lifeline of Pandemic EBT for a full year and enabled our fellow Americans in the territories to receive this critical nutrition assistance,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement.

Republicans gained funding for the USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation, which would help farmers who have suffered economically due to trade policies and tariffs. Without the extended funding, the Trump administration would hit its $30 billion borrowing capacity for the program.

However, Democrats added a stipulation to the program that bars “funds for farmers from being misused for a Big Oil bailout,” which means the legislation does not permit payments to fossil fuel refiners and importers.

The bill is expected to be passed by the Senate later this week.

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