House Dysfunction Puts Farm Bill On Hold

Market to Market | Clip
Oct 20, 2023 | 3 min

The vote to find a new Speaker of the House has delayed much of the legislative process in Washington D.C. while also creating uncertainty for key bills close to the finish line. 

Peter Tubbs reports.



Representative Patrick McHenry, R - North Carolina: “The House to come. To order. No person, having received a majority of the whole number of votes cast by surname, a Speaker has not been elected.”

Republican gridlock in the House has dimmed the prospect of the 2023 Farm Bill being finished in this calendar year.

The work of the 118th Congress has largely ground to a halt while the Republican majority wrestles with the question of who should be Speaker of the House.

Among Congress’s unfinished work is writing the 2023 Farm Bill. The 2018 legislation expired in September as Congress was focused on passing a 45-day continuation of the Federal Budget, but the government continues to administer agriculture programs under the terms of the 2018 Farm Bill. 

Failure to complete the 2023 Farm Bill or extend the 2018 legislation by December 31st would revert some programs to language written in the 1930’s and 1940’s.

One member of the Senate Agriculture Committee expects an extension of the 2018 Farm Bill to buy Congress time to finish its overdue work on twelve large omnibus spending bills. 

Senator Charles Grassley, R - IA: “And that's a major obstacle to getting a bill moving in the United States Senate. So I see by now, through the last half of October until Christmas Eve, that we're not going to have time. Even if the House picks a speaker yesterday, that the House moves the bill, that we're going to be able to get anything done in the Senate. So I see a one year extension of the 2018 Farm bill. (edit) Yeah you know I'm drawing conclusions as an individual senator but you can see with 12 appropriation bills that have to be passed between now and Christmas to fund the government (edit)  I hope I'm wrong because the farmers are entitled to more certainty.”

The most recent House Farm Bill listening session for the was on August 2. The last time the full agriculture committee held a hearing on the Farm Bill was June 14th. 

On a related note, without Congressional action, the Federal government will also shut down on November 17th.

For Market to Market, I’m Peter Tubbs.