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Rumors Fly Over Extending January Government Shutdown Deadline

Congress may have to figure out another way to keep the government open as it faces a January 19th funding deadline and little time to make a deal when lawmakers return after the holidays.

Lawmakers return from the holidays the second week of January, leaving just eight legislative days to cut a so-far, elusive deal on a top-line figure for spending bills, including USDA. Iowa GOP Senator Chuck Grassley says colleagues are already discussing their options with the first of two shutdown deadlines coming January 19th.

Grassley says, “Rumors are going around here that maybe the January 19th date may be dovetailed in with the February 2nd deadline. And then, there’s even another rumor going around of having a one-year CR.”

He’s referring to another stopgap continuing resolution to keep the government open, as the House and Senate fight over the size of cuts in a Biden-McCarthy deal last spring, muddled by a hand-shake side-deal new Speaker Mike Johnson won’t agree to.

Separately, Grassley could not say if the announced purchase of U.S. Steel by Japan’s largest steelmaker will adversely affect steel-dependent U.S. farmers or have antitrust implications. Grassley says, “But if it did, then you’d probably find me writing a letter to the Justice Department saying I expect you to take a good look at this and find out if there’s any anti-competitive problems as a result of this.”

Similar to, though Grassley didn’t mention it, a handful of foreign and U.S. firms controlling the meat packing industry. But there’s also the national security issue. Grassley says, “Japan’s a friend of the United States since World War 2, so it may not be as much of an issue. But, if there’s a question about affecting our national security, then I would expect CFIUS to look into this.”

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. is led by Treasury with membership from 16 agencies and departments, but not USDA, something pending legislation would change after land buys by China near sensitive U.S. military sites.

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