House departs, no pre-election farm bill
After votes today, the House of Representatives has gone out of session until after the November 6 election.
The House was scheduled to be in session parts of two weeks in October, but Republican members fearful of their election prospects convinced the House leadership to let them go home to campaign.
The House’s absence eliminates any possibility that Congress will finish the conference report on the farm bill and vote on it before the election.
The 2014 farm bill expires Sunday. Major farm and nutrition programs will continue and crop insurance is permanently authorized under separate legislation.
But the expiration leaves 39 farm programs unauthorized and inactive. That includes the Foreign Market Development program used to promote sales of U.S. commodities overseas.
Politico reported that Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said this week that the trade aid program established by the Trump administration could be used for that program until a new farm bill is passed, but USDA has said it will not award money until January and those funds are expected to be for programs, not staffing and office costs.
The House is scheduled to return on November 13.
–The Hagstrom Report
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In response to the severe drought conditions in the West and Great Plains, the Agriculture Department this week announced that plans to help cover the cost of transporting feed for livestock that rely on grazing.