The U.S.-China trade negotiations return to Washington this week amid signs of progress, while Senate Republicans seek to move forward with a long-stalled package of disaster aid eagerly awaited by a growing list of farmers.
The Senate is expanding a long-stalled disaster assistance bill to aid farmers and ranchers swamped by recent Midwest floods, but it’s still not clear when Congress will pass the legislation due to a dispute between the White House and House Democrats over funding for Puerto Rico.
U.S. negotiators head to China this week to resume face-to-face trade talks, and the Senate is expected to consider a long-stalled disaster aid bill amid demands to expand it to include assistance for losses from the Midwest flooding.
Congressional negotiators are struggling to close a deal that could increase border security funding while funding USDA, FDA and other agencies important to agriculture for the rest of fiscal 2019 and provide disaster aid for farmers hit by the 2018 hurricanes.
A supplemental appropriations bill that includes $3 billion in agricultural disaster aid passed the House over Republican opposition on Wednesday after Democrats attached a provision that would reopen the government without resolving the impasse with President Donald Trump.
The partial government shutdown that has shuttered much of USDA, the Interior Department and other agencies heads into its third week amid weekend discussions over President Donald Trump’s demand for border wall funding.
Congressional Republicans are poised to send their historic package of individual and business tax cuts to President Trump's desk before Christmas and also plan to pass a new stopgap funding bill that could include disaster aid to growers hammered by this year's hurricanes.