WASHINGTON ― The House passed a stopgap spending measure on Tuesday to avoid a government shutdown and keep the Department of Defense and other federal agencies operating through Dec. 11.
The continuing resolution was the subject of a bipartisan compromise with Senate Republicans, whose chamber now has eight days to pass the bill before 2020 federal funding expires. Failing to pass a CR would mean a politically fraught government shutdown ahead of the Nov. 3 elections.
Mirroring an earlier draft from House Democrats, the bill would also extend the window for reimbursing government contractors for costs related to COVID-19 through Dec. 11―a step sought by trade groups. The bill would also provide needed funding to begin work on the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine program.
Without these explicit exceptions, called anomalies, continuing resolutions bar new-start programs. The bill omits Defense Department anomalies the Trump administration sought for the new Space Force and nuclear weapons programs.
The bill’s passage would punt final negotiations over federal spending to the lame duck session of Congress, which is already expected to be immersed in a partisan brawl over a replacement for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday.
Roughly speaking, bipartisan talks added farmer assistance payments the Trump administration sought in exchange for $8 billion nutrition assistance funding that Democrats sought. The CR passed the House, 359-57, as 230 Democrats voted “yea,” and 129 Republicans joined them.
Joe Gould was the senior Pentagon reporter for Defense News, covering the intersection of national security policy, politics and the defense industry. He had previously served as Congress reporter.