Ag groups call on Congress to tackle “must-pass items” before leaving Washington

Republicans have taken control of the House, but before the new Congress is sworn in, producers across the country are asking lawmakers to address several key issues.

The American Farm Bureau Federation says there are still things a lame duck Congress can tackle before breaking for the year, including what they are calling some must-pass items.

“They need to address funding the government. They’re currently operating under a continuing resolution. An item that may be considered is whether or not Congress includes additional disaster funding in that appropriations requests. The second kind of must-pass thing is WRDA, the Water Rights Development Act. So, WRDA is a two-year bill Congress is currently looking at passing, the National Defense Authorization Act, and all fingers point to the inclusion of WRDA in the Defense Bill,” said Ryan Yates

Other hot topics the Federation hopes will be addressed center around labor and climate bills. Leaders fear if the Farm Workforce Modernization Act is not passed before Congress adjourns, it may never see the light of day.

“The House of Representatives did pass the Workforce Modernization Act. The Senate is looking at whether or not it can tackle a modified version of that labor bill. The other item on the agenda could include House passage of the growing Climate Solutions Act. Beyond that, we’ve got two trade nominees, both of which have moved out of committee in the senate and both are up for final vote for confirmation.”

Yates adds that lawmakers are going to have to work together on both sides of the aisle to make the most of the lame-duck session and carry that into the new year.

“Following the elections last week, we had a divided country and a divided Congress, and ultimately, we will remain that divided Congress. But what that identifies is the need for bipartisan support for getting things done not only in the lame duck, but when Congress returns, the need for bipartisanship will remain critical.”

Yates say he is hopeful lawmakers will make the most out of their remaining time on Capitol Hill.

Recently, lawmakers like Glen GT Thompson called on colleagues to work together this session and next to deliver the 2023 Farm Bill on time with bipartisan support.