Washington Week Ahead: Lawmakers try to solve shutdown, default

By Derrick Cain

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Oct. 15, 2013 - Lawmakers are expected to continue to work this week on ending the government shutdown and avoiding a potential debt default.

Hopes of an end to the impasse fluctuated again Monday as Senate leaders first expressed readiness to forge a deal, only to have the White House abruptly postpone talks.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said early Monday, “I'm very optimistic that we will reach an agreement that's reasonable in nature this week to reopen the government, pay the nation's bills and begin long-term negotiations to put our country on sound fiscal footing.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., seemed eager as well to resolve the shutdown.          

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“We have had an opportunity over the last couple of days to have some very constructive exchanges of views about how to move forward,” McConnell said. “Those discussions continue, and I share his optimism that we're going to get a result that will be acceptable to both sides.”

Later in the day on the Senate floor, Reid said the two made "tremendous progress" toward a deal.

“We've had a good day,” McConnell noted.

Among other things, the latest proposal would reopen the government at current spending levels until Jan. 15 and extend the federal borrowing limit until sometime in February - opening the door for more comprehensive budget negotiations which would carry a Dec. 13 deadline.

However, House GOP members - who are scheduled to huddle on Tuesday - could still resist the Senate offer.

 
Meanwhile, agriculture stakeholders are closely watching for the commencement of the farm bill conference. In a long-anticipated move, House leadership named their conferees Friday. Committee members are expected to meet Tuesday and discuss the conference schedule.

The USDA partially restored its website Monday, and included a list of scheduled releases of agency reports for this week. Due to the shutdown, however, it is not clear if the reports will be released on the scheduled dates.

Further, nearly all congressional committee action has been postponed.

The week's tentative events include:

Tuesday, Oct. 15.

12:00 p.m. The House will meet for legislative business, and votes are expected.

4:00 p.m. USDA Report: Crop Progress

Wednesday, Oct. 16.

10:00 a.m. USDA Report: Meat Price Spreads

1:00 p.m. USDA Report: Oil Crops Outlook

1:00 p.m. USDA Report: Cotton & Wool Outlook

1:00 p.m. USDA Report: Wheat Outlook

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Broiler Hatchery

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Turkey Hatchery

4:00 p.m. USDA Report: Rice Outlook

4:00 p.m. USDA Report: Feed Grains Outlook

Thursday, Oct. 17.

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

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

Friday, Oct. 18.

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

1:00 p.m. USDA Report: Livestock, Dairy & Poultry Outlook

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Cattle on Feed

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

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Livestock and Poultry: World Markets and Trade

4:00 p.m. USDA Report: Sugar & Sweeteners Outlook

4:00 p.m. USDA Report: Feed Grains Database

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