Washington Week Ahead: Congress scrambles to avoid shutdown

By Derrick Cain

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Sept. 23, 2013 - The main focus of the week will likely be more congressional action to avoid another possible shutdown of the federal government.

Some farm bill action also may be in the offing.

The House approved its continuing resolution (H.J.Res.59) Friday, which would keep government departments, including the USDA and FDA, essentially funded at FY 2013 levels until mid-December. With the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, Congress has one week to resolve the issue.

The House bill now heads to the Senate for its consideration. The main problem is the legislation includes language that would defund Obamacare, which is a complete non-starter in the Senate.

While not formally scheduled, the Senate is expected this week to strip out the House language and insert its own “clean” version of an extension. But complicating matters is a possible filibuster threat from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, of any CR without a defunding of Obamacare.

If the Senate is successful on moving a “clean” bill, it would then return to the House. The House was previously scheduled to be on recess this week, but leadership decided to have lawmakers return for legislative work on Wednesday. Further, House leadership told lawmakers to prepare for possible weekend sessions.

Globally Positioned Agriculture

Meanwhile, the House approved last Thursday its three-year nutrition bill (H.R. 3102), with a partisan 217-210 vote, that aims to cut about $40 billion over 10 years for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and provide various reforms to the program.

The current plan is to couple this bill with the House's five-year “farm-only” farm bill (H.R. 2642) and send it to conference with the Senate-passed five-year farm bill (S. 954), which includes $4 billion in SNAP cuts.

While the Senate picked its conferees in August, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has suggested the Senate may have to re-appoint their conferees, presumably because of the nature of the House coupled approach.

Boehner may announce his conferees later this week.

Other events include:

Monday, Sept. 23.

12:00 p.m. The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change and the Heartland Institute will hold a luncheon for the media and the public about a new report on climate change science at the Heritage Foundation, Allison Auditorium, 214 Massachusetts Ave., NE, Washington, D.C.

2:00 p.m. The Senate will convene for a period of morning business until 4:00 p.m. No roll call votes are expected.

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Cold Storage

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Crop Progress

4:00 p.m. USDA Report: Wheat Data

4:00 p.m. USDA Report: Poultry Slaughter

Tuesday, Sept. 24.

10:30 a.m. The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee's Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard will hold a hearing on “The Role of Certification in Rewarding Sustainable Fishing” in 253 Russell. 

10:30 a.m. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee's Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety will hold a hearing on “Black Carbon - A Global Health Problem with Low-Cost Solutions” in 406 Dirksen.

11:45 a.m. The Senate will vote on a judiciary nomination.

2:30 p.m. The Senate Budget Committee will hold a hearing on “The Impact of Political Uncertainty on Jobs and the Economy” in 608 Dirksen. Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, is scheduled to testify.

2:30 p.m. The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee's Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security will hold a hearing on “Rebuilding the Nation's Infrastructure: Leveraging Innovative Financing to Supplement Federal Investment” in 253 Russell.

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Cotton Ginnings

4:00 p.m. USDA Report: Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin (WAOB)

Wednesday, Sept. 25.

9:00 a.m. USDA Report: Food Price Outlook

10:00 a.m. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing on “The Need to Invest in America's Infrastructure and Preserve Federal Transportation Funding” in 406 Dirksen.

12:00 p.m. The House will meet for morning hour debate.

12:00 p.m. USDA Report: Broiler Hatchery

2:00 p.m. The House will meet for legislative business.

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: National Dairy Products Sales Report

4:00 p.m. USDA Report: Dairy Data

4:00 p.m. USDA Report: Livestock & Meat Domestic Data

Thursday, Sept. 26.

8:30 a.m. USDA Report: U.S. Export Sales

10:00 a.m. The House will meet for morning hour debate.

10:00 a.m. The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on “Outside the Box: Reforming and Renewing the Postal Service, Part II - Promoting a 21st Century Workforce” in 342 Dirksen.

12:00 p.m. The House will meet for legislative business.

4:00 p.m. USDA Report: Monthly Milk Cost of Production

Friday, Sept. 27.

9:00 a.m. The House will meet for legislative business.

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Agricultural Prices

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Peanut Prices

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Peanut Stocks and Processing

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Quarterly Hogs and Pigs

#30

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