A GOP Budget Plan to Avoid Shutdown

House GOP Members Pitch Plan for Short-Term Funding Cuts

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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A budget proposal offered by some House Republicans would cut spending for most federal agencies during the month of October while a bigger budget package is negotiated. The bill has some carve outs that would protect some farm bill programs. (DTN file photo)

WASHINGTON (DTN) -- Funding for USDA and several other federal agencies would be cut by more than 8% over the month of October under a budget proposal pitched over the weekend by a group of House Republicans to get past the chamber's budget impasse.

The proposed legislation includes a carve-out for "entitlement and other mandatory payments" under the farm bill.

The bill also would protect the ability of FSA to issue direct and guaranteed farm ownership loans.

The House and the Senate will each go back into session Monday amidst great uncertainty about legislation in front of them.

On Sunday evening, a half-dozen House Republicans including Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., a member of the House Agriculture Committee, announced a deal to avoid a government shutdown when the fiscal year ends Sept. 30. But the deal would be for only one month and would cut all domestic agencies by more than 8%, while the Defense Department and Veterans Affairs would not be cut.

The 8% cut over the span of a single month effectively translates into a 1% cut over the span of a fiscal-year budget.

The proposal also includes detailed language regarding border security that the House narrowly passed earlier this year.

The Washington Post said the deal also does not include President Biden's requests for supplemental funding. Biden has asked for more than $20 billion in aid for Ukraine, $16 billion in disaster relief and additional money for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

In an analysis, the Post said the bill was intended to garner support from right-wing House members, but that if it does pass the House, it would be rejected in the Senate.

Without a deal that would clear both chambers, Congress is once again looking at a federal shutdown after Sept. 30.

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., released a schedule for Monday but it did not mention the continuing resolution proposal.

The House is scheduled to vote on a series of measures on the suspension calendar, including the Wounded Knee Massacre Memorial and Sacred Site Act, which Johnson has sponsored.

Last week the Senate agreed by a vote of 91-7 on a motion to proceed on H.R. 4366, the minibus of three fiscal year 2024 appropriations bills including the Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration bill. But Rep Ron Johnson, R-Wis., objected to a motion for unanimous consent to proceed to the consideration of amendments.

The Alliance for a Stronger FDA told its members Friday that Johnson wants the Senate to move forward separately on each of the three bills in the minibus "to mirror the House, which is considering bills separately."

The Alliance said, "At week's end, negotiations were ongoing to see if Johnson's objection could be resolved."

The amendments that have been filed on all three bills in the minibus are listed on Congress.gov.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee has filed an amendment to continue an office of urban agriculture within the Agriculture Department.

The amendment to the ag bill that has garnered the most controversy is one filed by Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., that would block the Agriculture Department from finalizing the Organic Livestock and Poultry Standards rule.

But the Organic Trade Association said it is launching "an all-out effort to fight this attack."

Noting that Rep. Keith Self, R-Texas, introduced a similar measure in the House, OTA said, "The action by these lawmakers is unjust and unwarranted and represents a broader attempt to dismantle the National Organic Program."

"The OLPS regulations have been under discussion and review for over 20 years and are widely supported by the organic sector and the public at large. Adoption of these amendments would set a dangerous precedent for organic rulemaking and threaten the future of organic," OTA said.

Also see, "Farm Bill Stalled as Time Ticks Away," https://www.dtnpf.com/…

Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.com

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

Jerry Hagstrom can be reached at jhagstrom@nationaljournal.com

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

Chris Clayton