- Agricultural leaders in Congress have negotiated a one-year farm bill extension to be included in a proposed stopgap funding measure to keep the government running.
- House Speaker Mike Johnson unveiled a plan over the weekend to avert a partial government shutdown that included the continuation of funding for "critical agricultural programs" authorized by the farm bill, the heads of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees said in a statement Sunday.
- Johnson's short-term spending plan also extends funding in two phases for various federal agencies. Some, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, would see funding expire Jan. 19 .Others would be able to run through Feb. 2.
Lawmakers have until Friday before federal spending laws expire, and Johnson's plan to avoid a partial shutdown faces tough opposition including from far-right Republicans, who are against the idea of including a farm bill extension without major spending cuts.
"The current short-term funding proposal includes a 1-year extension of the Farm Bill (no reform), status quo policies, and status quo funding levels," Ohio Rep. Warren Davis, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. "Disappointing is as polite as I can muster. I will be voting NO."
Agriculture leaders stress a farm bill extension is necessary to avoid a lapse in funding for critical safety net programs and a reversion back to Depression-era law, which would send food prices soaring. Although the farm bill expired Sept. 30, farmers aren't expected to feel the effects until safety net programs end Dec. 31.
Shutdown threats in September plus a prolonged speaker election pushed out consideration of the farm bill, which governs hundreds of billions of dollars in food and agriculture spending. Leaders are hoping to approve legislation next year, but they have not provided an immediate timeline for passage.
"This extension is in no way a substitute for passing a 5-year Farm Bill and we remain committed to working together to get it done next year,” the committee leaders said in a statement.