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Grassley Sees Turbulent Year for Farm, Spending Bills

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) sees a turbulent year ahead for the farm and spending bills. Grassley accurately predicted the last one-year extension of the farm bill and now says, “If we don’t have a farm bill text by late spring, it’s unlikely that we’ll get a farm bill this year.”

Standing in the way, two government shutdown deadlines short of agreement on full-year spending bills, including USDA. Grassley says, “Well, it seems to me, it’d be easier to move the January 19 one to February 2, because the January 19 isn’t going to shut down all of government…and February 2 would have that impact.”

But moving the first deadline covering USDA will take legislation that Grassley fears House ultra-conservatives will block, raising the prospect of a legislative end-run. Grassley says, “There’s a feeling that since the Freedom Caucus controls the Rules Committee, that anything that’s going to be done, the funding for government for the rest of the year, the whole border issue connected with Ukraine and Israel, is going to have to be done through the process of two-thirds votes in the United States Senate.”

And maybe, the House. That, despite House and Senate leaders’ deal on a total top-line figure for spending bills. Grassley says, “Pretty certain that all these areas, not just in agriculture, but across the board, is going to come in a little bit less than what the Biden-McCarthy agreement did, but not a whole lot less.”

The House defeated its earlier USDA spending bill over cuts to farm and food programs and an anti-abortion rider.

Ultra-conservatives call the new top-line deal a “total failure” and could force Speaker Johnson to again rely on Democrat votes, which cost former Speaker McCarthy his job.

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