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Warnings Over Spending Bills, Farm Bill After Stopgap Extension

A key Senate Democrat issued a stern warning to House Republicans to work to avoid two new shutdown threats early next year in the just-enacted stopgap funding and farm bill extension.

Senate Appropriations Chair Patty Murray reluctantly voted for the unprecedented House GOP stopgap with new shutdown deadlines of January 19th and February 2nd for different agencies. But Murray warned, “If we don’t want to be right back here in a few weeks, facing a one-two-punch shutdown threat, we need all of us to get serious about one-year full spending bills.”

That’s a tall order given the House GOP’s internal spending fights and demands that Senate Democrats agree to deeper cuts than President Biden and ousted Speaker McCarthy settled on in the spring. But Murray isn’t budging saying, “So, I have an important message for Speaker Johnson and the House Republicans: We can only get these spending bills done if we are all on the same page when it comes to the topline numbers.”

Numbers that House GOP hardliners want to cut further and did in the USDA annual spending bill and three others before torpedoing them over internal disagreements and opposition from Democrats.

The farm bill meantime will have to compete for floor time and a packed calendar of election year primaries next year. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says, “It’d be my goal to push to get it done, and I would hope every member of the Senate and House Ag committees would get it done because if it doesn’t get done early in the year, it’s not going to be done. Another extension has to occur if we don’t get it done early next year.”

The just-enacted extension continues authorizations for most farm programs, though the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says Livestock Mandatory Reporting again runs out on January 19th which is the next shutdown deadline.

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