House, Senate return today to finish farm bill? |

House, Senate return today to finish farm bill?

The House and the Senate will return to Washington today to begin the post-election lame-duck session that may or may not include passage of a new farm bill.

The chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate agriculture committees have said they will push hard to finish a new farm bill this year. But the bill’s fate is likely to depend on how much energy there is to pass legislation as Congress prepares for the Democrats to take control of the House.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, and ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., met Monday for half an hour, Politico reported.

After the meeting, Peterson declined to comment and Conaway said, “We’re still having conversations. We agreed to continue working hard to get this thing done this term,” Politico reported.

A key farm lobbyist said the brevity of the Conaway-Peterson meeting was a negative sign for passage of the farm bill this year.

Congress also is under a deadline to pass a measure to fund several departments including the Agriculture Department and related agencies by Dec. 7, when a current funding agreement expires. President Donald Trump has threatened to make his demand for funding of a border wall an element of those negotiations.

The House will meet at noon today for morning hour and at 2 p.m. for legislative business. No votes will take place until 6:30 p.m. The House will continue to be in session through Friday, with votes expected no later than 3 p.m.

The House Republicans are scheduled to hold their leadership elections on Wednesday. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has already said he has the votes to win the House minority leader’s position.

The House Democrats are scheduled to hold their leadership elections on Nov. 28. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. is expected to be their leader. Pelosi is also expected to be elected speaker of the House in January.

Some Democratic candidates said they would not vote for Pelosi, but as House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., who is expected to chair the committee, said last week, no one is running against her.

The Senate is scheduled to go into session at 3 p.m. today.

Both chambers are scheduled to be out of next session next week for Thanksgiving, but will return the week of November 26.

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