House, Senate return to great uncertainty over CR, ag approps

The House and the Senate will each go back into session today 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 on Sept. 30. But the deal would be for only one month and would cut all domestic agencies by 8%, while the Defense Department and Veterans Affairs would not be cut.

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.

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.

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

The House will meet at noon for morning hour and at 2 p.m. for legislative business. At 6:30 p.m., 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.

Meanwhile, the Senate is scheduled to go into session at 3 p.m., with votes at 5:30 p.m. on nominations.

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 on 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

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., 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 rule-making and threaten the future of organic,” OTA said.

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