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Senate Passes House GOP 2-Step Stopgap with Farm Bill Extension

The Senate has approved a House-passed stopgap funding bill to keep the government open and extend through next September the 2018 farm bill.

The Senate passed the stopgap funding bill 87 to 11. The House GOP-led stopgap funding that extends the 2018 farm bill one year but has two early 2024 deadlines for annual spending bills—again threatening government shutdowns.

But for now, the funding/farm bill ‘band-aid’ buys time, though American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall stressed at the National Press Club recently, that a modernized farm bill is needed now.

Duvall said, “We just can’t keep kicking the can down the road. We’ve got to get this done, and we’ve got to get it done this year or very soon after the first of the year.”

However, that could also be a challenge amid continued partisan fights over annual spending bills and a tight election year calendar of primaries and caucuses. On Capitol Hill, top Senate Ag Republican John Boozman, “It’s more important than ever to pass a farm bill that reflects the needs and challenges of today and gives certainty to those producing the food and fiber that feeds and clothes the world. We owe it to them to get this farm bill and get it done right.”

But Iowa Senator Joni Ernst complained a farm bill should have been done before the old one expired in September and needed to be extended.

Ernst says, “The lack of urgency and progress on this once-every-five-year piece of legislation has been a real disservice to rural America. And I hope that we can see more ‘farm’ in the farm bill as we move forward and that we can get it done early this next year.”

Fixed funding has pitted farm against feeding programs like SNAP, with no clarity yet on how that gets resolved, nor where the farm bill will fit into an even more complicated calendar in 2024. But the temporary bill now goes to the president, who’s expected to sign it.

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