Farm bill extended, government shutdown avoided

Congress passed a bill for President Biden’s approval to fund the government until the new year along with an extension of the current farm bill.

The federal government is funded through the new year. 

On Nov. 15, the Senate sent a continuing resolution to President Biden, averting another government shutdown and giving legislators time to pass a longer-term spending bill. 

The bill, passed by the Senate with a bipartisan vote of 87-11, establishes two deadlines in early 2024, with funding for some agencies running out on Jan. 19 and the rest on Feb. 2. It continues funding at current levels and contains no policy conditions.  

The funding measure, according to New York Times reporters Carl Hulse, Catie Edmondson Kayla Guo and Luke Broadwater, “pleased Democrats and enraged far-right Republicans who have demanded steep cuts and conservative policy requirements.” 

In addition to Congress passing a stopgap spending bill, it also passed a one-year extension of the 2018 Farm Bill, which expired on Sept. 30. 

“The short-term extension was a necessary step toward completing a comprehensive farm bill, and we were encouraged that the extension included funding for so-called orphan programs,” says Nathan Bowen, Irrigation Association advocacy and public affairs vice president.  

Despite the positivity, he says that the short-term band-aid is just that — a short-term solution.  

“But the fact remains we need Congress to act and pass a comprehensive bill in the coming months. It is vital for growers around the country to have a bill in place that gives them certainty to plan and make business decisions,” he says. “As Congress continues to debate the next bill, we are committed to ensuring that irrigation efficiency remains a priority in federal agricultural policy, and we will continue to advocate for the industry in the new year.” 

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