Congress Returns with Hopes of Farm Bill Passage

Lawmakers return to Washington, D.C., this week with a need to still find a path forward on the farm bill. However, multiple measures, including 2019 appropriation bills, must also be passed in the lame-duck session.

Leaders of the House and Senate agriculture committees say they still hope to finish a farm bill this session, but they have not shown signs of reaching a final agreement. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley has hinted that the farm bill might be added to the appropriations bill so that House leadership would not have to bring it up as a separate piece of legislation. Representative Collin Peterson of Minnesota, who will chair the House Ag Committee next year, says that if the bill does not pass, he wants to organize his committee quickly in January and bring up the farm bill in short order.

The House is scheduled to leave on Thursday, December 13th, while the Senate is scheduled to adjourn on Friday, December 14th. But Congress could stay in session longer if the necessary end-of-the-year business is not completed by the target dates, according to the Hagstrom Report.