The House and Senate Agriculture Committees are ready to focus on debating a new farm bill after lawmakers used the newly enacted omnibus funding package to clear their to-do lists. But it took several years to pass a farm bill the last time a divided Congress tried to do the job.
The House approved and sent to President Biden's desk Friday a $1.7 trillion year-end spending bill that includes $3.7 billion in farm disaster aid and clears some key unfinished business for agriculture, including measures to help producers take advantage of carbon markets.
Congressional negotiators are nearing agreement on a massive year-end bill that’s expected to include billions in agricultural disaster aid as well as a compromise version of the Growing Climate Solutions Act and special aid to rice growers.
It’s up to the Senate to prevent a rail strike that President Biden says would be “devastating” to the U.S. economy. Ahead of a possible vote, Democrats will discuss the issue today with Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
Congress kicks off its lame duck session this week with control of the House for the next two years still undecided, and GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy still trying to shore up votes to be speaker, if Republicans take over the chamber.
Nearly a year after the Senate overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan bill aimed at jump-starting ag climate markets, the bill remains mired in the House Agriculture Committee, raising the possibility the legislation could be punted to the farm bill debate in the next Congress.
Congress heads into an election year with clouds over two major pieces of legislation that are seen as critical to helping farmers benefit from efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Lawmakers also are expected to begin farm bill hearings this year, and they will have to keep the government funded for the rest of the fiscal year.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott says he plans to start holding farm bill hearings in January. And he says the House will likely act on the Growing Climate Solutions Act by early next year as well.