While control of the next Congress has yet to be decided, farmers and ranchers still need lawmakers to address several priorities. Micheal Clements tells us what the lame duck Congress can do for rural America.
Clements: The American Farm Bureau Federation has a few priorities for Congress to consider during the lame duck session. Ryan Yates, AFBF Managing Director of Government Affairs, says there are some "must-pass" items for lawmakers to address.
Yates: They need to address funding the government. They're currently operating under a continuing resolution. An item that may be considered is whether or not Congress includes additional disaster funding in that appropriations requests. The second kind of "must pass" thing is WRDA, the Water Rights Development Act. So, WRDA is a two-year bill, Congress is currently looking at passing the National Defense Authorization Act, and all fingers point to the inclusion of WRDA in the defense bill.
Clements: Other priorities include labor and climate bills.
Yates: The House of Representatives did pass the Workforce Modernization Act. The Senate is looking at whether or not it can tackle a modified version of that labor bill. The other item on the agenda could include House passage of the Growing Climate Solutions Act. Beyond that, we've got two trade nominees, both of which have moved out of committee in the Senate and both are up for final vote for confirmation.
Clements: Yates adds bipartisan efforts will be key to the lame duck session and the next session of Congress.
Yates: Following the elections last week, we had a divided country and a divided Congress, and ultimately, we will remain that divided Congress. But what that identifies is the need for bipartisan support for getting things done not only in the lame duck, but when Congress returns, the need for bipartisanship will remain critical. As it pertains to the lame duck, we are hopeful that Congress can tackle these remaining agricultural priorities, and we will work with Congress to encourage them to get their job done before they come home.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.