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Home passes short-term authorities funding invoice, shutdown appears off the desk

It extends the flexibility in the food stamp program from the CARES Act to allow states more leeway in granting the assistance, and expands the school meal program to children that were in child care centers that have been closed in the pandemic, widening the pool of children available for the program, and provides new funding for the school subsidized meal program. That at last answers a portion of the pandemic need.

Democrats included language that will keep the Treasury from diverting any of that money intended for farmers and ranchers from going to oil refineries. Because that has been an effort by the Trump administration—diverting agriculture funds to oil companies that have not received waivers of their ethanol obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard. Basically, oil companies haven’t lived up to their bargain for producing so much of their fuel from ethanol, and Trump has wanted to reward them for it by taking money from a program that’s supposed to help stabilize farms.

So there wasn’t an effort to save Obamacare, the bulk of necessary pandemic relief still hasn’t been secured, and Trump could force a shutdown in December to use in his likely fight to overturn the election results. Not having a government shutdown now, just before the election, is the advantage. Given that Republicans are the ones likeliest to lose in the election, Democrats could have used their leverage more effectively.

At least it’s one less crisis between now and the election to have to worry about. Now it’s just the absence of coronavirus relief and another stolen Supreme Court seat. McConnell is expected to bring the bill to the Senate floor by early next week. Trump is expected to sign it. It being 2020, however, who knows for sure.

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