Democrats reached a deal with the White House and congressional Republicans to replenish the Agriculture Department’s Commodity Credit Corp. account in exchange for banning CCC payments to oil companies and extending some pandemic-related nutrition assistance.
Senate Republicans say the chances of another big coronavirus bill are all but dead after Democrats blocked movement of a pared-down GOP bill on Thursday. But a senior Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, Jim Costa of California, tells Agri-Pulse that he’s still optimistic for a deal this month after participating in a call with the Democratic congressional leadership.
The Trump administration and House Democrats have yet to reach a coronavirus relief deal, and billions in agriculture funding and food assistance increases hang in the balance as the high-level talks move slowly.
Talks on a coronavirus relief package will heat up this week as Senate Republicans prepare to bring out their proposal this week with an eye toward getting the massive legislation passed ahead of the August recess.
Republicans including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy are insisting on a “shield” to protect businesses from civil lawsuits in the next COVID-19 relief bill, but Democrats are pushing back hard.
There’s interest on Capitol Hill and in the White House in an infrastructure package as part of the coronavirus recovery effort, but that interest will have to overcome the skepticism of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.