Omnibus Bill: What is and isn’t included

Time is running out for the current session of Congress to pass the year-end government funding bill, which includes several key ag measures.

The Omnibus Bill includes $250 million in assistance to rice producers after a Texas A&M study found two-thirds of rice farms will fail to break even in 2022. $100 million in assistance will go to cotton merchandisers. The money would go to those who purchased from U.S. producers, marketed cotton on their behalf, and then experienced losses during the pandemic. Money will also go towards the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act, which increases registration and maintenance fees to support a more predictable regulatory process. Lastly, it includes the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Extension, which could go until September 30th of next year.

Senator Chuck Grassley says there is an important piece of legislation for cattle producers that is not included in this year-end bill, and its fate will rest with the new session of Congress.

“The bill will not include my Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act. I know that to be a fact even though we haven’t gone through the bill yet. I’ve been working for a long time to help Iowa’s independent cattle producers so they receive a fair bid for their cattle. This year we had a lot of success with 21 senators signing on to it, and it easily sailed through the Senate Ag Committee. In the end, we just ran out of time. I’m disappointed that Majority Leader Schumer did not find time on the Senate calendar, since it was so important for rural America, particularly the fact that he told Tester that he would do it. I’m confident that we will have strong support for the bill in the next Congress. This bill is very bipartisan, almost equally divided between Republicans and Democrats.”

As of his weekly call yesterday, Senator Grassley said he was still making up his mind on whether to vote for the Omnibus Bill.