House narrowly passes debt ceiling legislation

The bill can potentially impact various irrigation-related policies and programs, including technical assistance and EQIP funding.
BY LUKE REYNOLDS
House-narrowly-passes-debt-ceiling-legislation

House Republicans narrowly passed H.R.2811, or the Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023, passing a debt ceiling bill on to the Senate and setting up a potential government shutdown showdown. 

According to some sources, the bill is unlikely to make it to President Biden’s desk but will draw Democrats to the negotiating table. 

For the irrigation industry, the Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023 would impact several programs important to the industry, according to the Irrigation Association’s, Nathan Bowen, advocacy and public affairs vice president. 

“While it is critical for Congress to address the debt limit, the cuts included in the LSGA would represent significant challenges for our industry,” says Bowen. “In particular, the caps on discretionary spending in the bill would dramatically reduce funding for important research and rural broadband programs.” 

Bowen says that farm bill negotiations and debt ceiling negotiations are intertwined and are setting up lawmakers for heated debates. 

“While the specific bill passed by the House is dead on arrival in the Senate, the political brinkmanship around the debt ceiling has the potential to not only impact federal spending levels, but also negotiations on the farm bill,” says Bowen. “Regardless, the impact of the outcome of debt ceiling negotiations on irrigation is far-reaching, and it’s essential that lawmakers keep in mind how essential our industry is to our nation’s vitality.” 

In addition to limiting discretionary funding, the bill would also, according to PBS, rescind all unobligated COVID-19 relief money from six bills enacted from 2020-2022; rescind nearly $71 billion that Congress is providing the IRS to upgrade its technology and boost hiring; block student loan relief; repeal tax breaks for clean energy; adjust work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; increase domestic production of oil, natural gas and coal; and ease permitting restrictions that delay pipelines, refineries and other projects. Finally, the bill would raise the debt ceiling to keep the government funded through March 31, or by $1.5 trillion, whichever comes first.  

Opposition to the bill say that it will harm America’s middle class. 

“This reckless Republican effort to lead us down the road of a dangerous default will hurt working families, hurt the middle class, hurt all those Americans who aspire to be part of the middle class, hurt young people, hurt seniors, hurt veterans, hurt the poor, the sick and the afflicted, hurt people in urban America and rural America and exurban America and small town America and Appalachia and the heartland of America, hurt the least, the lost and the left behind,” House Minority Leader Hakeen Jeffries, D-New York, said on the House floor.

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