House members return to Washington to battle over fiscal 2025 spending bills ahead of the national party conventions, and Ag Committee Chairman Glenn Thompson says he’ll be trying to round up support for the farm bill his panel advanced before the Memorial Day weekend.

The Republican House majority will grow by one on Monday when Vince Fong is sworn in to fill the seat vacated by the retirement of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. Republicans will have 218 seats to 213 for the Democrats with four seats still vacant. 

The House is focusing on FY25 appropriations in June and July and also moving the annual defense authorization bill, one of the remaining major pieces of legislation that has often avoided the partisanship crippling other legislative packages, including the farm bill.

The House’s FY25 appropriations process will be anything but bipartisan. Republicans are trying again this year to shift spending into their priority bills, mainly the Defense, Veterans Affairs, Military Construction and Homeland Security measures over domestic non-defense spending bills, which including Agriculture, Interior-Environment and Labor-HHS.

Republicans will try to move all of the FY25 spending bills through the Appropriations Committee ahead of the Republican National Convention, which starts July 15 in Milwaukee. After that, the House as well as the Senate are scheduled to be in session again for just five weeks before the November elections – two weeks in July and three weeks in September.  

The Agriculture spending bill, which includes annual funding for USDA, FDA as well as the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, is scheduled to be considered in subcommittee June 11 and in the full Appropriations Committee on July 10. Last year, House Republicans were unable to pass the Agriculture bill on the House floor because of its spending cuts and restrictions on the abortion drug mifepristone.

Thompson, R-Pa., wants to avoid a similar fate with his farm bill, which his committee approved 33-21 shortly after midnight on May 24. He continues to express optimism that he can pass the bill in the full House in September. He said he plans to mount an outreach effort in June with members of both parties.

Moving a bill through the House might spur Senate Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow to bring out a bill as well, Rep. Frank Lucas, an Oklahoma Republican who used to chair House Ag, said in an interview with Agri-Pulse Newsmakers

“I know there's been some hesitation in the Senate about actually putting forth a real work product, but if we can move a bill, I think that will compel them to take action,” Lucas said.

                Cut through the clutter! We deliver the news you need to stay informed about farm, food and rural issues. Sign up for a FREE month of Agri-Pulse here.

The top Republican on Senate Ag, John Boozman of Arkansas, plans to release this month a framework for a bill that he said would be similar to the House Ag measure.

But longtime Senate Agriculture Committee member Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, told reporters Friday he doubts Congress will ultimately get a farm bill enacted this year.

“I don't see a path” for a bill, Grassley said. “Every month that's gone by since February, when I was very hopeful, it's gotten less (likely) and more negative,” he said.

Meanwhile, a Senate Ag subcommittee is holding a hearing Tuesday on issues affecting beginning farmers. 

The witnesses will include Tessa Parks, a Minnesota farmer representing the National Farmers Union, and Florida producer Kevin Lussier, who chairs the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee. 

Also this week, Agri-Pulse will sponsor its annual Food and Ag Issues Summit in Sacramento on Tuesday.

The summit’s theme this year is “Rightsizing California Agriculture for New Growth and Opportunities,” and the agenda includes discussions on the future workforce; the opportunity of a circular economy for improving efficiency; the potential for food is medicine to improve health outcomes; and opportunities for common ground between agriculture and environmental groups. 

A couple of senior policymakers and officials are set to appear: state Sen. Steve Glazer and California Food and Ag Secretary Karen Ross.

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

Monday, June 3

National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference, through Wednesday, Capital Hilton

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

Tuesday, June 4

Agri-Pulse Food and Ag Issues Summit, Sacramento.

8:30 a.m. – House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee meeting to consider its fiscal 2025 spending bill, H-14 Capitol.

8:30 a.m. – U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Sustainability Circular Economy Summit, 1615 H St NW.

10 a.m. – House State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee meeting to consider its fiscal 2025 spending bill, H-14 Capitol.

10:15 a.m. – House Natural Resources subcommittee hearing on the U.S. Forest Service, 1324 Longworth.

2:30 p.m. – Senate Agriculture subcommittee hearing, “Pathways to Farming: Helping the Next Generation of Farmers,” 328A Russell.

2:30 p.m. – Senate Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee hearing with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, 138 Dirksen.

Wednesday, June 5

8:30 a.m. – American Enterprise Institute forum, “A Tale of Two Farm Bills: Cheers or Jeers for Farm Subsidy Proposals from the House and Senate?” 1789 Massachusetts Avenue NW

9 a.m. – House Oversight and Accountability Committee hearing with EPA Administrator Michael Regan, 2154 Rayburn.

10 a.m. – Senate Finance Committee hearing, “Revitalizing and Renewing GSP, AGOA and Other Trade Preference Programs,” 215 Dirksen.

Thursday, June 6

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

Friday, June 7

UN Food and Agriculture Organization releases monthly Food Price Index.

1 p.m. – Center for American Progress forum, “State Leadership to Conserve Nature,” 1333 H St. NW.

For more news, go to