Written by: Leah Wilkinson | September 8, 2022
Congress is working their way back to Washington, D.C., over the next several days to do their fall rush of work in the few legislative days available before the election. The House only has 11 days that they are in session between now and Nov. 8, while the Senate is around all of September and two weeks in October. No matter how much they are in town, it’s a given that there will be a mad dash of activity to complete the legislative work by the necessary deadlines or they will give themselves some wiggle room to complete the work later in the year when more is known after the election.
The most important piece of business they need to complete is approving funding for the new federal fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. So far, only the House has acted on any appropriations bills, passing a package of six appropriations bills in July, including the agriculture appropriations bill. If they fail to act on the appropriations bills, Congress must pass a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government past Sept. 30 or risk a government shutdown.
Currently, all predictions point to Congress passing a continuing resolution in September. What’s unknown is how long the CR will last. Will they fund it for only a few weeks thinking they can get an agreement before the election? Or will they punt it until sometime in December, leaving it to the political winds of how the election turns out?
No matter what Congress does, the American Feed Industry Association is advocating for increased funding of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine to improve the speed and efficiency of the animal food ingredient review processes. These processes now take three-to-five years to complete and are stifling innovation from making it to today’s producers ahead of international competitors.
The Senate is also expected to vote on the nomination of Doug McKalip to be the chief agricultural negotiator at the U.S. Trade Representative. This important trade position has been vacant for the two years of this administration. The AFIA supports McKalip’s nomination and urges swift confirmation by the Senate, hopefully later this month.
Congress is also expected to tackle some user fee reauthorizations that expire at the end of the fiscal year important to the medical community and FDA; debate several tax provisions; find a compromise for the National Defense Authorization Act; and discuss other hot-button issues, such as immigration and cryptocurrency.
All with only a few days to do it. I have confidence it will all happen…eventually. The question is, when? One thing is certain though, it won’t be boring in our nation’s capital this fall.