WASHINGTON, Sept 22 (Reuters) — The U.S. House of Representatives may delay the expected Tuesday afternoon vote on a bill to fund the government through Dec. 11, because discussions are continuing about its provisions, Democratic aides said.
The delay “relates to numerous agriculture provisions” in the bill, one aide said. With government funding lapsing on Sept. 30, House Democrats announced Monday they had filed the stopgap funding legislation, but they angered Republicans by leaving out new money that President Donald Trump wanted for farmers.
The Tuesday vote “may go ahead later or may not, depending on how convos (conversations among congressional leaders) go,” said another Democratic aide, who like the first spoke on condition of anonymity.
The new federal fiscal year starts on Oct. 1.
The bill is designed to avoid a government shutdown when funding runs out on Sept. 30 – and give lawmakers more time to work out federal spending for the period through September 2021, including budgets for military operations, healthcare, national parks, space programs, and airport and border security.
But the version House Democrats filed Monday did not include $21.1 billion the White House sought to replenish the Commodity Credit Corporation, a program to stabilize farm incomes, because Democrats said they considered it a blank check for political favors. Trump had promised more farm aid during a rally in Wisconsin last week.
Republicans protested the omission, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell calling it “shameful” and arguing farmers need the help. If the bill is not changed in the House, Republicans could seek to amend it in the Senate, but both chambers will ultimately need to pass the same version for the measure to go to Trump for signing into law.
Leaders of both parties say they are not interested in a standoff that could lead to a government shutdown, amid a pandemic and just weeks before the Nov. 3 elections.
(Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)