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Pelosi, Mnuchin move to defuse potential for government shutdown

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There is an informal agreement to support continuing funding for existing programs without making any controversial changes.
Image: US Capitol exterior

U.S. Capitol on Sept. 29, 2008. An unidentified Florida congresswoman recently received a threatening phone call which resulted in the arrest of a Darryl A. Varnum of Westminster, Maryland. .Brendan Hoffman / Getty Images file

The Trump administration and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are planning to work together to avoid a government shutdown at the end of September, making an informal agreement to support continuing funding for existing programs without making any controversial changes.

The pact to move forward with what’s known in congressional parlance as a “clean CR” was discussed in a phone call between Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Pelosi, D-Calif., that took place on Tuesday, a source familiar with the call told NBC News.

“House Democrats are for a clean continuing resolution,” Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said in a statement.

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There had been questions about whether the bitter standoff over unemployment insurance and aid for states and schools would lead to recriminations during the budget talks and spark a shutdown. It’s clear both the White House and congressional Democrats want to avoid that

One other outstanding question: How long will Congress fund the government? Ahead of an election, it’s generally tradition to extend funding through mid-December and renegotiate once the results of the presidential race are clear.

But if Democrats are confident of a presidential win for Democratic nominee Joe Biden, it’s possible they could push for something farther into 2020 — which could spark Republican outcry.

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