Government Shutdown Looms as Democrats' Spending Bill Fails in Senate

A government shutdown is now looming, as a spending bill proposed by House Democrats failed to garner Republican support in the Senate. According to The Hill, the bill — which would have kept the government funded through Dec. 11 — could be amended by Senate Republicans and then sent back to the House. Time is running out, however, as government funding is set to run out on Sept. 30.

In a statement on the bill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) tweeted, "House Democrats’ rough draft of a government funding bill shamefully leaves out key relief and support that American farmers need. This is no time to add insult to injury and defund help for farmers and rural America." This is in reference to Republicans and the Trump administration wanting to ensure that farm aid payments are continued through the Commodity Credit Corporation. The CCC has a borrowing limit of $30 billion, and a top administration official reportedly told The Hill that it is unlikely Trump would sign the government funding bill if this provision is excluded. "[The odds are] very low. CCC is a big deal and they have nothing," the official said.

The Hill reports that the Trump administration continues to promise more funding to farmers who've been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. President Trump himself recently assured farmers at a Wisconsin event that he would make $13 billion available to them. This has been pushed back on by Democrats who state that it is not necessary since the CARES Act already included significant funds for farmers. "What the Trump Administration wanted added to the clean CR wasn’t help for farmers – it was more than $20 billion more taxpayer dollars that the Trump Administration views as a bottomless, unaccountable political slush fund," a senior Democratic aide said.

Earlier in September, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Speaker Nancy Pelosi reached an informal deal that led to holding off the government shutdown for a couple of weeks. At the time, The Hill reported that sources from both sides stated the pair agreed to "pursue a clean, short-term stopgap measure" that would keep lawmakers working on a resolution to keeping the government open past the end of September. It seems now, however, time is almost up to avoid the shutdown.