And Won. The Government will remain open. Speaker Mike Johnson successfully steered legislation through the House that will fund government past the November 17 deadline and into the New Year. Speaker Johnson’s legislation, termed a laddered, two-step continuing resolution, would fund part of the government — including the Agriculture, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Veterans Affairs departments — through January 19 and fund the Defense Department and other remaining parts of the government through February 2. The Senate is adopted the proposal. President Biden signed it into law. Contained in this package is an extension of the Farm Bill.
This gives Congress some breathing room to continue to consider and adopt appropriations bills.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is that the concerns and controversies that almost closed the government last month — and cost Former Speaker McCarthy his job — are still on the table. Aid to Israel, Ukraine, and border security are all high-stakes issues that remain unresolved. Further, the funding formulas for government appropriations are highly contested as evidenced by the significant number of Republicans who rejected the Speaker’s plan because it does not include any spending cuts.
A Farm Bill extension was agreed to by the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Agriculture Committees. They issued the following statement, “As negotiations on funding the government progress, we were able to come together to avoid a lapse in funding for critical agricultural programs and provide certainty to producers. This extension is in no way a substitute for passing a five-year farm bill and we remain committed to working together to get it done next year.”
Earlier in the week, Speaker Johnson announced his intent to bring the bill forward in December, but that was not in the cards. The current timeline may drag deliberations into campaign season, which kicks off January 15 in Iowa. We do not expect any of AHC’s priority Farm Bill issues to be caught up in election-year politics as we are focused on equine health and welfare which have bi-partisan support.
Despite the intrigue, machinations, and threats of fisticuffs, bills continue to be introduced and co-sponsors courted. Our final newsletter of the year will have a status report on our legislative scorecard and what we expect in 2024.