Washington, D.C. Update

November 17, 2023
House and Senate Avoid Shutdown and Extend Farm Bill Through the 2024 Crop Year
This week, both the House and Senate passed a continuing resolution to fund the government beyond November 17. The “laddered” resolution extends funding deadlines for different parts of the Federal government in two steps: January 19 and February 2, 2024. The Department of Agriculture would be funded through January 19, 2024, when the following four appropriations bills will expire: the Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration; Energy and Water; Military Construction-Veteran’s Administration; and Transportation Housing and Urban Development. The eight appropriations bills expiring on February 2, 2024, include Commerce-Justice-Science; Defense; Financial Services; Homeland Security; Interior-Environment; Labor-HHS-Education; Legislative Branch; and State and Foreign Operations. In addition, the bill would extend the 2018 Farm Bill until September 30, 2024, one year from when it expired. The commodity programs for rice and other program crops are extended through the 2024 crop. The bill also accounted for the farm bill programs without a baseline, often referred to as “orphan programs,” by providing them with one additional year of funding (equal to one-fifth of the funding provided for each program in the 2018 five-year farm bill). To offset the cost of this additional spending for these “orphan” programs, the bill rescinds $177 million in unobligated funds from the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program. After the proposal was released, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) Ranking Member David Scott (D-GA), and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Ranking Member John Boozman (R-AR) released a joint press release noting how they were able to reach an agreement but that they remain committed to completing a five-year farm bill next year. The bill passed on a bipartisan vote in both chambers. In the House, it passed on a 336-95 vote on Tuesday, November 14. In the Senate, it passed on an 87-11 vote on Wednesday, November 15. It will now go to President Biden to be signed into law. The full text of the bill can be found here.
Meeting with Chairman Thompson
In the picture below, Fred Clark and Vernie Hubert after a meeting with Chairman Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) of the US House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture on Wednesday of this week. USRPA representatives thanked Chairman Thompson for the recent extension of the farm bill and discussed other important issues. Chairman Thompson shared his desire to have a farm bill completed early in 2024 before the political campaign season kicks in. They also discussed ag labor issues being investigated by the bipartisan Agricultural Labor Working Group created by Chairman Thompson and Ranking member David Scott (GA) co-chaired by Congressman Crawford (AR) and Don Davis (NC).
Left to right: Fred Clark, Chairman Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) of the US House of Representatives Committeeand Vernie Hubert.
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