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Trump signs stopgap funding bill to avert a government shutdown

The U.S. Capitol Building. (Dreamstime/TNS)

President Donald Trump signed stopgap spending legislation early Thursday to avert a government shutdown weeks before the presidential election, the White House said.

The spending authority of the U.S. had lapsed at midnight. The White House announced that he had signed the bill shortly after he returned from a campaign trip to Minnesota.

The bill will keep the government operating through Dec. 11 at current spending levels. The Senate on Wednesday approved the bill, which easily passed the House last week.

Congressional Democrats and Republicans, along with White House officials, last week removed the final stumbling block, by agreeing to provide aid to farmers and more food assistance for low-income families.

The bill provides as much as $30 billion for the Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Credit Corp., which the administration has used to send virus relief payments to farmers. Democrats got almost $8 billion for a pandemic program to feed children who normally receive school lunches.

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With the temporary spending bill finished, lawmakers will try to complete work on the 12 annual appropriations bills for fiscal 2021 in the post-election lame-duck session in November and December. The Senate hasn’t drafted any of the bills so far, and there’s likely a battle ahead over paying for Trump’s wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and replacing military funds he redirected to pay for border security last year.

It was an impasse over the border wall that led to a 35-day government shutdown — the longest ever — beginning in December 2018.

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© 2020 Bloomberg News

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.