With a global pandemic that's been largely ignored by Donald Trump, massive wildfires due to global warming, a presidential election being ratfucked by the incumbent, and now a fight over the Supreme Court, things are a little hectic at the moment, and that's not even including the impending coffee crisis. So this seems like a good time to mention that unless Congress can agree on a stopgap spending bill by 12 p.m. on September 30, the government will run out of money and turn into a pumpkin. It will also shut down at a time when even several Republicans (three, we think) acknowledge we need an operating government.

So how are things going? The Washington Post 'splains,

House Democrats unveiled a short-term spending bill on Monday that Senate Republicans immediately denounced, raising the prospect of a government shutdown weeks before the November election.

The Senate Rs are angry that the House version of the continuing resolution doesn't include some $30 billion in bailout money for agribusiness, which is still being hurt by Donald Trump's trade wars, as well as by economic disruptions due to the coronavirus pandemic. With the election coming up, Republicans want to make rural state voters happy, no matter how much it costs.

And yes, this last-minute emergency spending bill is wholly separate from larger coronavirus relief, which Republicans are blocking because they think it costs too much. (Democrats passed a coronavirus bill in MAY.)

Guess this must be a day ending in a panic attack.

To prevent a government shutdown, the House and Senate need to pass identical bills and send 'em to Trump, and hope that someone reminds him to sign the bill after he rants about invisible fighter planes at the signing ceremony (if any). The House is planning to pass its version of the bill today, after which the Senate can either pass it too, amend it and send it back to the House, or just sit around with its thumb up its senatorial ass and complain that Democrats are bad.

Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, wriggling uncomfortably in his sandy nest, issued a statement complaining that Democrats are very bad indeed:

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.

The Post points out, however, that before McConnell said Never, No Never, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow had signaled the administration could live with a continuing resolution (CR) that didn't include the farm aid, because when do any of these goobers ever coordinate their messaging? Kudlow told reporters earlier Monday, "We do prefer additional farm aid in the CR … Most of all we want a clean CR to keep the government open."

And just to be clear, this isn't a sneaky Dem plot to undercut an existing aid program for America's Beloved Farmers. The extra pile of bailout cash was only promised by Trump last week at a campaign rally in Wisconsin, as part of his "Holy Shit Look At My Poll Numbers" initiative, which has also resulted in last-minute funding for Puerto Rico and his failed bid to bribe older voters with prescription drug discounts.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on the Senate to just pass the damn thing and keep the government funded past the election, noting that the House's CR will "avert a catastrophic shutdown in the middle of the ongoing pandemic, wildfires and hurricanes, and keep government open until December 11, when we plan to have bipartisan legislation to fund the government for this fiscal year," which seems not unreasonable.

On MSNBC's "All You Nerds Love Chris Hayes, Don't You?" program last night, Pelosi said that while congressional Democrats will fight like hell to prevent a rushed nomination to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, they won't use the threat of a government shutdown as leverage — particularly since that wouldn't deter Republicans anyway. "Republicans don't believe in governance. It's a welcome thing for them to shut down government. That's why they have done it over and over."

Factcheck True!

The Post reports that Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had been close to an agreement on a CR on Friday, but those talks went kerflooey on Friday. The almost-deal would have included the money for farmers in exchange for spending to boost food assistance for kids whose families have been affected by the pandemic. But the deal never quite came together, so Republicans accused Pelosi of betraying farmers, while Democrats said there was no deal for Pelosi to have backed out of in the first place. For all we know, Mnuchin may have only been willing to include food assistance for kids if EBT cards had Trump's face on them.

Still, there's a whole eight days before the government shuts down. They'll probably work something out in a spirit of bipartisan cooperation, or at least sheer panic. Or not!

[WaPo / Speaker Pelosi / Spokesman-Review]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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