The Farm Bill extension has expired, too. What is happening with that? Here is a recap in a nutshell:
*The House Rules Committee has cleared the way to join the “farm farm bill” and the “nutrition farm bill” into one bill. That opens the potential for a Conference Committee between the House and the Senate to try to merge their two farm bill versions.
*The Senate has named conferees to a potential Conference, but the House has not. There is no public commitment from the House leadership for a conference to occur.
*If a conference on the farm bill does happen, the House leadership may want to shape a bill instead of letting the House Agriculture Committee do it.
*A conference may not occur at all, and another extension may be negotiated instead.
*Congress may well not get interested in addressing the farm bill until January 1 approaches, when repercussions from operating without a modern farm bill get more intense. Without a new farm bill or an extension, the law reverts to 1938 permanent law.
*On the other hand, it is possible a farm bill extension could be wrapped into the larger debt ceiling and shutdown negotiations set to (theoretically) happen soon.
*Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack has given no indication yet that he will tell agencies to prepare to revert to permanent law.
*We really don’t know what is going to happen. And we don’t know when. It could happen any time – or not!