Uncertainty looms over Capitol Hill’s priorities as the current Farm Bill nears expiration

Congress focused the first week of the fall session on a government funding resolution that must pass in the next few weeks to avert a full shutdown. However, lawmakers’ priorities leave the fate of the soon-to-expire Farm Bill undecided.

With just over two weeks remaining until the 2018 Farm Bill reaches its expiration date, the future of this critical legislation hangs in the balance. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill find themselves navigating a host of pressing issues, including the passage of a government funding resolution to avoid a full shutdown, leaving the fate of the 2023 Farm Bill uncertain.

“I think we’re good until the end of the year,” said Rep. G.T. Thompson, the Republican from Pennsylvania and Chair of the House Agriculture Committee, shedding light on the situation. Further commenting that the House’s immediate priority is passing a resolution to fund the government. Only after this crucial step can the Farm Bill receive the attention it deserves on the legislative floor.

“It’s an immense piece of legislation, $1.51 trillion over ten years,” Rep.Thompson explained. “Many of the programs will not expire. Many of them are tied to the harvest season, to the calendar year. There’s a fair amount that is mandatory spending such as Nutrition titles that actually do not expire. My goal when it comes to timeliness on time is to avoid any disruption in these significant programs going forward.”

The 2018 Farm Bill expiration is on the horizon underscores the urgency of resolving funding matters to ensure the continuation of vital agricultural programs. However, since lawmakers can more easily vote to extend the current Farm Bill until a new one is drafted, it is sitting on the back burner.

As the clock ticks down, farmers, ranchers, and stakeholders in the agricultural sector anxiously await clarity on the Farm Bill’s future.

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