Federal Government Could Face Short Shutdown Before Congress Gets Its Work Done

The New York Times highlighted the battle over the aid package sets up a major challenge for President-elect Joe Biden as lawmakers are pulling out direct aid for states and local governments. Collectively, states and local governments could be facing a $500 billion shortfall in funding their operations. Republicans, though, have balked throughout the year at providing aid to the states.

Politico also reported that Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., told reporters there were objections to the 15% increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for four months and questions about how food banks are supported.

But Stabenow added, “I think we’re really close,” per a Capitol Hill pool report, Politico said. “I’m not going to get into the specifics, but we will see a temporary SNAP increase. It’s desperately needed.”

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., acknowledged Thursday that Republican members of the House Agriculture Committee who had tried to make cuts to SNAP benefits in the last farm bill were objecting to the increase, Politico said.

But Roberts told reporters, “There is every reason why we should have increases in SNAP, as well as the help to our producers who are still going through a very rough time. I think we’ll work it out.”

“I don’t want to name anybody individually. It’s just that, there are people that are more, how can I describe it, more Freedom Caucus-oriented. And they wanted a lot of … reform of the SNAP program,” Roberts said. “Had that happened, we wouldn’t have 60 votes for the farmers.”

A House Democratic aide told DTN’s Hagstrom, “If the Republicans want to hold this up because of gripes over SNAP at Christmas time they’re either dumber than we thought or crueler than we thought. Neither is good.”

Jerry Hagstrom can be reached at

Follow him on Twitter @hagstromreport

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