Ag Policy Blog

Heading to a Shutdown, House Fails to Pass USDA Funding Bill

The House failed to pass the 2024 funding bill for USDA in a late vote on Thursday. (DTN file photo)

WASHINGTON (DTN) -- After days of debate on a package of spending bills, the House late Thursday failed to pass the 2024 funding bill for USDA and FDA by a vote of 191 to 237, with 27 Republicans joining 210 Democrats in voting against the bill.

No Democrat voted for the bill. Three Republicans and two Democrats did not vote. Several Republicans who voted against the bill were members of the House Agriculture Committee or came from the GOP's more moderate wing.

Meanwhile, there are late prospects for passing legislation to stop the government from shutting down as the fiscal year 2023 ends Saturday at midnight. The Senate moved forward Thursday with its continuing resolution (CR) on a 76-22 vote to keep the government open through Nov. 17.

The Washington Post reported House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., will attempt to bring up a 30-day, short-term spending bill Friday. McCarthy also is set to hold a news conference Friday, even as some House GOP hardliners are plotting to replace McCarthy with Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., a member of McCarthy's leadership team, even though Emmer has said he is not interested in the effort.


The House leadership's decision to bring up the Ag bill came as a surprise because there had been speculation throughout the day that it would not come up specifically because the votes were not there to pass it.

The bill was controversial due to a provision tied to FDA funding that would ban mail delivery of abortion pills nationwide.

The bill included significant cuts to a range of USDA programs.

The House did narrowly pass funding bills for Homeland Security and the Department of Defense, but both bills come with funding cuts and other restrictions that would not get approval in the Senate.


A USDA spokesman on Thursday said the department's market reports such as Crop Progress will pause during a shutdown. Like market news reports, the Export Sales Report will pause as well. NASS reports and data collection will largely stop, which could delay or suspend the October World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) reports as well.

Other aspects of USDA will shut down, such as more than 3,000 Farm Service Agency offices, delaying access for producers or others who want to apply for USDA loans.

As the White House stressed earlier in the week, more than 7 million people who receive food aid through the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program could lose access to that support depending on how long a shutdown lasts.

A range of federal workers considered "essential," such as air traffic controllers and U.S. Border Patrol agents, will continue to work without pay until a shutdown is resolved.


Among the votes on the House floor earlier in the week regarding USDA, the House voted 217-216 to block any funding that would allow USDA and the Department of Interior to create the Climate Corps, which would train and hire up to 20,000 people at USDA and Interior to work on climate issues.

The House also approved by a voice vote to provide a $10 million appropriation for dairy business innovation initiatives.

Among various agencies and programs that could see additional cuts, here is a list of amendments by lawmakers:

Reduce budget for USDA chief economist to FY 2016 level.

Reduce Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) to FY 2019 level.

Reduce funding for McGovern-Dole International Food for Education by 50%.

Reduce funding of the Food Production and Conservation (FPAC) Business Center to FY 2019 levels.

Eliminate funds for USDA's regional Climate Hubs.

The House agreed to ban USDA from buying electric vehicles.

The House also agreed not to allow any regulation passed by USDA that would result in an annual impact of more than $100 million on the economy.

Jerry Hagstrom can be reached at

Follow him on X, formerly known as Twitter, @hagstromreport

Chris Clayton can be reached at

Follow him on X, formerly known as Twitter, @ChrisClaytonDTN


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