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Government Relations & Washington Update

August 2023

FY 2024 Agriculture Appropriations Update
Congress has left Washington, DC for the August recess with some uncertainty on next steps for the fiscal year 2024 agriculture appropriations bill. Both the House and Senate Appropriations committees have passed their respective versions of the bill, but neither has been brought to the floor for full consideration. The House had planned to take up its version on the floor the last week of July, but ran into problems setting the parameters for amendments in the House Rules Committee.  Legislation must go through the Rule Committee to establish the rules of floor debate and which amendments will be allowed for consideration.  Some Republican members were advocating for larger reductions in overall spending while others objected to provisions related policies around the abortion pill mifepristone. Republicans were unable to resolve these differences prior to August recess so further action on the bill will not occur until September. The Senate has yet to schedule floor action for any of the annual appropriations bills.

With a limited number of legislative days before the end of the fiscal year, there may be a need for a short-term continuing resolution to keep the government funded while Congress works to complete the various appropriations bills.  Congress has some incentives to finish before the end of the calendar year.  The debt ceiling package passed earlier this year includes a provision that would reduce spending by one percent for spending bills that are not enacted by January 1, 2024.

Below are links to additional information regarding the House and Senate bills:

House FY 2024 Agriculture Appropriations Bill:

Senate FY 2024 Agriculture Appropriations Bill:

Agriculture Committees Continue Farm Bill Preparations
With Congress in recess for August, members and staff of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees are ramping up their efforts to draft the 2023 Farm Bill. Several farm bill listening sessions are scheduled around the country during August where Members of Congress are getting input from stakeholders on what they would like to see in the next farm bill.  At the same time, committee staff are beginning the process of putting together legislative language. With the current farm bill set to expire on September 30th, it is increasingly likely that a short-term extension of authority may be needed to give the committees sufficient time to complete their work.

Secretary Vilsack Announces New Food Security Dashboard at APEC Food Security Ministerial
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack chaired the recent  Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC) Food Security Ministerial meeting in Seattle.  Secretary Vilsack led engagement with APEC member economy leaders, delegates, and industry representatives on the importance of building a more resilient and interconnected region that advances broad-based economic prosperity through sustainable, resilient agri-food systems. He also emphasized the important role innovation plays in seeking solutions through climate change adaptation and mitigation, sustainable agricultural productivity growth and global food security. During the meeting, Vislack announced that USDA is standing up a new Food Security Dashboard to provide decision-makers with access to a wide range of indicators reflecting several facets of food and nutrition security, such as: indicators of food insecurity, trade disruption vulnerability, importance of imports to food security, daily caloric intake per person, and calorie content of a diet broken down by food groups. The dashboard provides information on the role of trade in food security and gives a roadmap to which foods are needed and how to get countries those foods.