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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Aug. 27, 2020.The Associated Press

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.

“House Democrats are for a clean continuing resolution,” said Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammil. The definition of “clean” tends to vary among those steeped in Capitol Hill jargon, but it would not necessarily rule out non-controversial 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 non-controversial 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-19 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-19 relief front do not include a politically-freighted partial shutdown.

Monica Crowley, a spokeswoman for Mnuchin, said Treasury would decline to comment.

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