August 31, 2012
The month of August is traditionally slow in Washington, DC, and this is even truer during an election year. When Congress left town at the end of July, uncertainty remained as to the prospects of completing a comprehensive reauthorization of the farm bill. The Senate passed its version in June with bipartisan support. In the House, the Agriculture Committee passed its version in July, but the bill has yet to be scheduled for floor consideration. Farm groups are planning to push Congress to act quickly when they return from August recess, but current farm bill authorities expire at the end of September, leaving very few legislative days for Congress to reach agreement on a new farm bill. It appears more and more likely that some type of extension of authority will be needed to allow Congress to get past the November elections and complete work on the farm bill.
Before leaving for August recess, House and Senate reached an agreement to fund the federal government under a six month continuing resolution (CR). Congress is expected to approve the 6 month CR when it returns in September. USDA programs, including NIFA and ARS will be included in the CR.
FASS Washington Representative Walt Smith will be attending the annual Midwest Swine Nutrition Conference in September. Walt will address the group and provide an update on policy issues impacting animal agriculture and agricultural research, as well as the activities of the FASS Science Policy Committee. The conference takes place on September 13th in Indianapolis.