Senate negotiators look to finalize and advance a bipartisan infrastructure bill this week, while the House debates a package of appropriations that would sharply increase funding for USDA, EPA and other departments and agencies important to agriculture.
The top Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee is alleging the Biden administration improperly revised financial incentives to lure lenders to apply for the Conservation Reserve Program and that the resulting contracts may turn out to be invalid.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee advanced the nomination of Tracy Stone-Manning to be director of the Bureau of Land Management after a sharply partisan debate over her truthfulness about a 1989 tree-spiking incident on an Idaho national forest.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack sparred with Republican senators Wednesday over a House-passed bill that would create a pathway to citizenship for farmworkers, and the squabble showcased the divisions that have prevented Congress from passing immigration reform legislation for decades.
Some Senate Democrats are talking about adding immigration measures, including farmworker provisions, to the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package that they’re developing. But critics say it’s highly unlikely the Senate parliamentarian would allow immigration language to stay in a budget reconciliation measure.
The Senate faces a Wednesday deadline to vote on a bipartisan infrastructure package even as Democrats try to finalize a bigger $3.5 trillion package of climate provisions and domestic spending initiatives.
The $3.5 trillion reconciliation package that Senate Democrats are putting together could have significant implications for agriculture when it comes to taxes and climate policy. One aspect to watch: A proposed border adjustment tax on carbon.