The House Appropriations Committee this week takes up an unusually partisan funding bill for the USDA and FDA that highlights some major spending cuts Republicans would like to make, even as debt ceiling negotiations between the GOP and President Joe Biden lurch toward a June deadline.

Biden talked by phone Sunday with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and the two planned to meet on Monday, according to the White House. 

Before that conservation and before leaving Japan to return to Washington on Sunday, Biden told reporters that he still believed "we'll be able to avoid a default and we'll get something decent done."

"We put forward a proposal that cuts spending by more than a trillion dollars, and on top of the nearly $3 trillion in deficit reduction that I previously proposed through the combination of spending cuts and new revenues," Biden said. "Now it’s time for the other side to move their -- from their extreme positions, because much of what they’ve already proposed is simply, quite frankly, unacceptable."

After the call with Biden, McCarthy said in a tweet, "My position has not changed. Washington cannot continue to spend money we do not have at the expense of children and grandchildren."

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on NBC's Meet the Press that June 1 was a "hard deadline" for Congress to act. 

"I indicated in my last letter to Congress that we expect to be unable to pay all of our bills in early June, and possibly as soon as June 1st. And I will continue to update Congress, but I certainly haven't changed my assessment," she said. 

But Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., said on CNN's State of the Union that Yellen needed to be more specific than just saying default could occur as soon as June 1. 

"Well, let's have a little leadership. The financial markets are all nervous about this. Is it the 1st or is it the 14th? A quarterly payment of taxes comes to the federal government beginning on the 15th, at which point the risk of default is averted,"  Cassidy said.

House Budget Committee Chairman Jodey Arrington, R-Texas, told ABC he hoped Biden’s next conversation with McCarthy is “more productive and more focused ... on the one proposal that has passed -- Republicans put forward and passed out of the House."

Biden also is under pressure from his left not to give in to GOP demands. Sixty-six progressive Democrats called on Biden to use the 14th Amendment to avert the debt ceiling rather than agreeing tomajor cuts to domestic priorities under the Republican threat of destroying the economy and moving forward to honor America’s debts.” 

The House Appropriations Committee is due on Wednesday to take up its fiscal 2024 Agriculture spending bill, which would fund USDA, FDA and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. During a subcommittee meeting last week, Democrats called the bill a “sham proposal” that relied on funding rescissions that were unlikely to materialize in time. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has called the legislation “pathetic” and “petty.”

The measure would cancel $5.75 billion in funding provided by the Inflation Reduction Act for clean energy and farm loan relief, claw back $500 million in unspent pandemic assistance and restrict Vilsack’s ability to use USDA’s Commodity Credit Corp. spending authority. Without the rescissions, the bill would slash USDA’s funding for FY24 to $17.2 billion, which would be the lowest spending level since 2006 and a cut of $8.7 billion from FY23.

The bill also would expand SNAP work requirements to able-bodied adults as old as 55. The rules now apply to adults 49 and younger.

“As Americans know all too well, our country continues to face record inflation driven by the reckless spending of the Biden administration,” said Rep. Andy Harris, a Maryland Republican who chairs the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee. “We simply cannot continue down this path of providing large sums of money with no accountability.”

But the International Fresh Produce Association has slammed a provision in the bill that would eliminate an increase in fruit and vegetable benefits through the Women, Infants and Children nutrition assistance program because the fruit and vegetable bonus would reduce the dairy allotment.

The increase in fruit and vegetable benefits first implemented in 2021 “reaches nearly 5 million women and children, and directly reflects science-based targets laid out by the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) to deliver at least 50 percent of fruit and vegetable intake recommended by the recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans,” Mollie Van Lieu, vice president of nutrition and health for IFPA, said in a statement.  

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Under the WIC provision, children would get 56% less, or just $11 a month, for fruits and vegetables in the new fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1.

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, meanwhile, is appealing to lawmakers to protect $3.25 billion in electric co-op funding the bill would rescind. The IRA funding is designed to help co-ops continue a shift away from fossil fuels.

Also this week, a House Agriculture subcommittee will have a hearing Tuesday with two top USDA officials who oversee key farm programs: Zach Ducheneaux, administrator of the Farm Service Agency, and Terry Cosby, chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The full House, meanwhile, will take up the latest in a series of GOP measures that could strike down Biden administration regulations. A resolution the House is scheduled to take up Tuesday would use the Congressional Review Act to block the EPA from implementing new pollution standards for trucks.

The standards would reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions starting with the 2027 model year, providing an estimated $200 billion in health benefits through 2045.

Like previous CRA resolutions Republicans have forced votes on this year, the measure is largely symbolic since Biden is certain to veto it.

The Democratic-controlled Senate approved the resolution by a single vote, 50-49, a margin far short of the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto. The lead Senate sponsor of the resolution, Deb Fischer of Nebraska, said the EPA standardswould drive up costs for consumers, increase vehicle costs, and hurt good-paying jobs.”

The Senate is not in session this week.

Here is a list of agriculture- or rural-related events scheduled for this week in Washington and elsewhere (all times EDT):

Monday, May 22

4 p.m. — USDA releases weekly Crop Progress report.

Tuesday, May 23

10 a.m. — House Agriculture subcommittee hearing on the Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service, 1300 Longworth.

10 a.m. — House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, 2123 Rayburn.

Wednesday, May 24

10 a.m. — House Appropriations Committee meeting to consider the fiscal 2024 Homeland Security and Agriculture spending bills, 2359 Rayburn.

10 a.m. — House Natural Resources subcommittee hearing, “Examining the Biden Administration’s Efforts to Limit Access to Public Lands,” 1324 Longworth.

Thursday, May 25

 8:30 a.m. — USDA releases Weekly Export Sales report.

9 a.m. — USDA releases monthly Food Price Outlook.

Friday, May 26

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