Congress is about to go home for Christmas, but there will be no farm or spending bills among its Christmas presents this year.
The old farm bill got extended for the rest of the new fiscal year in a stopgap spending bill, but House Ag Chair GT Thompson argues, “It is not and should not be in lieu of a comprehensive and thoughtful bipartisan five-year reauthorization of the farm bill. However, significant headwinds exist. These range from the stark politics of the 118th Congress to the costs and funding constraints across the 12 titles in the farm bill.”
It’s made worse by the continued House-Senate impasse over spending bills complicating the path for a new farm bill. Senate Appropriations Chair Patty Murray says “We are at 38 days from the first government funding deadline that this Speaker set. I don’t think the American people want to see food safety inspectors or air traffic controllers furloughed. But, if we want to make progress on our full-year funding bills, then we need Speaker Johnson to get back to the full top-line spending deal that House Republicans negotiated themselves.”
But Speaker Mike Johnson claims it’s Senate Democrats who are violating the top-line figure brokered by his predecessor with President Biden. He says, “The Senate has been projecting and writing well above that. I don’t know, billions of dollars. That’s not what the law says. So, I came in as the new Speaker and I said, again, as ‘the rule of law team,’ we’re going to follow the law. So, that’s where the negotiations stand. We’re awaiting a volley from the other side, should there be one, but the House has done its job.”
Passing, Johnson says, seven of the 12 annual spending bills, while sidelining several and defeating that for USDA over policy riders and spending cuts.