WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Trump administration have informally agreed to keep a stopgap government-wide funding bill — needed to avert a shutdown at the end of this month — free of controversy or conflict.
The accord is aimed at keeping any possibility of a government shutdown off the table despite ongoing battles over COVID-19 relief legislation, while sidestepping the potential for other shutdown drama in the run-up to the November election.
That’s according to Democratic and GOP aides on Capitol Hill who have been briefed on a Tuesday conversation between Pelosi, D-Calif., and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. They required anonymity to characterize an exchange they were informed of but not directly party to.
30 PHOTOSNancy Pelosi through the yearsSee GalleryNancy Pelosi through the yearsWASHINGTON, DC – MAY 8:File photo dated 08 May, 1996 shows US Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, speaking during a Capitol Hill press conference in Washington, DC. House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt (R, D-MO) is expected to announce 07 November, 2002 that he will not seek another term after the Republican opponents took both the House of Representatives and the Senate in mid-term elections 05 November. One of two Democrats vying to fill the spot is is Minority Whip Nancy Pelosi; the other is chairman of the Democratic caucus Martin Frost (D, TX).(Photo credit should read J. DAVID AKE/AFP/Getty Images)WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 20:US President Bill Clinton signs the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act Amendments of 1996 20 Mayat the White House in Washington DC. Standing behind Clinton are (L-R) Jeanne White, mother of Ryan, White House Aide Patsy Fleming, Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN), Rep. Henry Waxman(D-CA), Rep. Nancy Pelosi(D-CA).(Photo credit should read CHUCK KENNEDY/AFP/Getty Images)UNITED STATES – JUNE 25:HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS: Ranking member Nancy Pelosi ,D-Calif., during the House Appropriations,Foreign Operations subcommittee markup of FY 98 foreign operations appropriations.(Photo by Douglas Graham/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)SLUG:NA/BAILOUT DATE:9/26/08 WASHINGTON, DC CREDIT: DOMINIC BRACCO II From left, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) speak during a press conference about legislation for a bailout of the financial crisis on Capitol Hill on Sept. 26, 2008.(Photo by Dominic Bracco Ii/The Washington Post/Getty Images)Washington, UNITED STATES:US President George W. Bush is applauded by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (R) and Vice President Dick Cheney (L) as he delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol in Washington 23 January 2007. AFP PHOTO/Larry Downing/Pool(Photo credit should read LARRY DOWNING/AFP/Getty Images)UNITED STATES – OCTOBER 10:WHIP RACE–Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., left, victor in the Democratic Whip race, talks to reporters and celebrates with supporting members after the Democratic caucus elected her to replace outgoing Whip David E. Bonior, D-Mich., who is running for governor of Michigan.(Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)WASHINGTON, :Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA,L) newly elected Democratic Minority Leader raises her hand with outgoing leader Dick Gephardt (D-MO) 14 November, 2002 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Pelosi’s election marks the first time in the history of the US Congress that a woman will lead her party.AFP PHOTO MIKE THEILER (Photo credit should read MIKE THEILER/AFP/Getty Images)UNITED STATES – JULY 26:House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks to the California delegate breakfast in Boston, Massachusetts on the first day of the Democratic National Convention, July 26, 2004.(Photo by Chris Kleponis/Bloomberg via Getty Images)UNITED STATES – FEBRUARY 02:STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS–House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and 2004 presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., talk before President George W. Bush’s State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress.(Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)Congressman John Lewis, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Harry Belafonte, Jessie Jackson and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (Photo by Moses Robinson/WireImage)WASHINGTON – JUNE 04:U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) addresses the 2008 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference at the Washington Convention Center June 4, 2008 in Washington, DC. Democratic U.S. presidential hopefuls Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) are scheduled to speak to the same event.(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)WASHINGTON – MAY 22:Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) holds her weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol May 22, 2009 in Washington, DC. Pelosi turned the news conference into an opportunity to list what she and the Democratic House leadership considered their successes of the 111th Congress’ first session. She took a handful of questions about her upcomming trip to China and her statements about the CIA.(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)UNITED STATES – JULY 23:House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, right, and Nuri al-Maliki, Iraq’s prime minister, shakes hands while addressing the media before a meeting at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, July 23, 2009. Maliki pledged to mend sectarian divisions and fight corruption as he urged the international community to continue providing support to his nation.(Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Bloomberg via Getty Images)WASHINGTON, DC- Jan. 05: House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, accepts the gavel from outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as the 112th Congress convenes at the U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 23:House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) works with staff before a vote on the House floor during a typically busy day on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, Thursday, June 23, 2011. (Photo by Melina Mara/ The Washington Post via Getty Images) UNITED STATES â DECEMBER 1: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., holds her weekly on camera news conference in the Capitol on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)BEVERLY HILLS, CA – APRIL 22:Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (L) and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi attends the Public Counsel’s 2012 William O. Douglas Dinner at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 22, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California.(Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images)CHARLOTTE, NC – SEPTEMBER 05:House Minority Leader Sen. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) waves as she takes the stage during day two of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on September 5, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The DNC that will run through September 7, will nominate U.S. President Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential candidate.(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 14: House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks to the media as female House Democrats gather around during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol, on November 14, 2012 in Washington, DC. Leader Pelosi said that she has decided continue to lead the House Democrats and does not wish to retire at this time.(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, bottom center, stands for a photograph with Democratic women of the House on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. 65 House Democratic women are part of the 114th Congress, the largest number of women in a party Caucus in the history of the Congress of the United States. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 07:(L-R) Former Vice President of the United States Al Gore, Apple’s SVP of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue, CEO of Apple Tim Cook, music producer Jimmy Iovine and Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi attend the Pre-GRAMMY Gala and Salute to Industry Icons honoring Martin Bandier at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 7, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.(Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage)UNITED STATES – JULY 15: Vice President Joe Biden and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., leave a meeting with House Democrats in the Capitol Visitor Center where Biden briefed members on the nuclear deal with Iran, July 15, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)UNITED STATES – JULY 14: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., introduces presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton to the press for her on the Iran nuclear deal following her meeting with House Democrats during their weekly caucus meeting in the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, July 14, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)WASHINGTON, DC – Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi works with staff in her House Leadership office during a typically hectic legislative day on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on Wednesday May 18, 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (L) walks with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi after attending a meeting with the House Democratic Caucus on June 22, 2016 at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN(Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)UNITED STATES – JULY 28: House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Thursday, July 28, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 14: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), chats with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), during a memorial service to honor the late Rep. Mark Takai (D-HI), 49, who died from pancreatic cancer last July, at the US Capitol September 14, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 21:(L-R) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) drive nails into a piece of lumber at the ‘First Nail Ceremony’ September 21, 2016 outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. The ceremony marked the official launch of construction on the Inaugural platform where the next President of the United States will take the oath of office on Friday, January 20, 2017.(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 22:House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) answers questions during her weekly press conference at the U.S. Capitol September 22, 2016 in Washington, DC. Pelosi answered questions on a range of topics, including congressional negotiations on a new continuing resolution.(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)U.S. Vice President-elect Mike Pence, right, shakes hands with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, following a meeting in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. During their closed-door meeting, Pelosi expressed strong concerns about Trump’s decision to name former Breitbart News chief Steve Bannon to be his chief White House strategist, and asked him to reconsider the appointment. Photographer: Chip Somodevilla/Pool via BloombergUp Next
“House Democrats are for a clean continuing resolution,” said Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill, referring to the stopgap bill. The definition of “clean” tends to vary among those steeped in Capitol Hill jargon, but it would not necessarily rule out noncontroversial add-ons like routine extensions of programs like federal flood insurance or authority to spend money for highway programs. Some lawmakers are sure to seek substantive legislation and even COVID-related items if consensus could somehow evolve.
“We do believe that we’ll be able to get funding to avoid a shutdown,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Thursday.
The duration of the temporary funding measure or what noncontroversial items might ride along haven’t been settled, aides say, and the Pelosi spokesman declined to further characterize the agreement.
The government faces a Sept. 30 deadline to avoid a shutdown like the 2018-2019 shutdown sparked by Trump’s insistence on more funding to construct his U.S.-Mexico border wall. There is sentiment among some Democrats for the stopgap legislation to extend into next year, but December appears to be the administration’s preference and a more likely result.
The development comes as lawmakers are absent from Washington but are preparing to return for a brief pre-election session that’s likely to involve battling over COVID relief legislation. But the chances of another rescue bill have ebbed as the summer is nearing an end.
The Mnuchin-Pelosi agreement on preventing a shutdown appears aimed at ensuring that the consequences of gridlock on the COVID relief front do not include a politically-freighted partial shutdown.
The duration of the stopgap measure affects which modest changes — often referred to as “anomalies” — are added to address immediate needs like expiring authorizations at the Department of Health and Human Services or immediate needs at the Pentagon and the Department of Agriculture. A longer continuing resolution, or CR, requires more extensive negotiation.
Monica Crowley, a spokeswoman for Mnuchin, said Treasury would decline to comment.
Associated Press writer Zeke Miller in Washington contributed to this report.
This story corrects an earlier version that reported that the Pelosi-Mnuchin conversation took place Wednesday. It happened Tuesday.
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