Agriculture

Congress Passes Two-Week Funding Extension to Avert Shutdown
House, Senate sent stopgap measure to president for signature

The House and Senate have passed a two-week extension of government funding, sending it to President Donald Trump for his signature. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

An extension of temporary appropriations for nine Cabinet departments and dozens of smaller agencies through Dec. 21 is on its way to the president’s desk after the House and Senate passed the measure Thursday.

The legislation would extend current funding levels for two weeks and buy time to reach final agreement on outstanding spending issues, including President Donald Trump’s $5 billion southern border wall funding request. It also extends a number of expiring authorizations including Violence Against Women Act programs, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the National Flood Insurance Program for the duration of the stopgap measure.

Final Farm Bill Would Make Hemp Legal, Other Details Revealed
Lying in state of George H.W. Bush disrupts bill release schedule

Corn grows on a farm on July 13, 2018 near Amana, Iowa. Farmers in Iowa and the rest of the country, who are already faced with decade-low profits, are bracing for the impact a trade war with China may have on their bottom line going forward. (Scott Olson/Getty Images file photo)

The top House Agriculture Democrat says a final farm bill agreement rejects controversial House provisions to tie food stamp benefits to expanded work requirements, greenlights hemp cultivation and tweaks programs important to farmers and ranchers.

The death of former President George H.W. Bush and his lying in state in the Capitol Rotunda disrupted congressional schedules this week, including the release of a final farm bill. Lawmakers have spent weeks negotiating to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the legislation.  

Meet the New House Republican Committee Leaders
9 panels get new Republican leaders after 2018 cycle retirements

Texas Rep. Kay Granger will be the first woman to serve as top Republican on the Appropriations Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans last week selected their new committee leaders to replace nine retiring GOP chairmen. 

The new leaders, however, will serve as ranking members since House Republicans will be in the minority next year. 

Trump, China’s Xi Agree to End Trade and Tariff Standoff
Lawmakers have been split on how tough Trump should be on Beijing

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives at the Capitol in September 2015. He and President Trump agreed to a trade cease-fire Saturday after months of tensions. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday agreed to what amounts to a cease-fire on a monthslong trade tiff.

“President Trump has agreed that on January 1, 2019, he will leave the tariffs on $200 billion worth of product at the 10 percent rate, and not raise it to 25 percent at this time,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

Granger Selected as New Top Republican on House Appropriations
With Nita Lowey expected to chair, panel is set for historic all-female leadership duo

Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, is expected to be the ranking member on House Appropriations next Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Texas Rep. Kay Granger will likely take over as the House Republicans’ lead appropriator in January after the GOP Steering Committee recommended her on Thursday.

The full House GOP Conference is expected to ratify the decision Friday. While it’s possible the conference could overrule the Steering panel recommendation, conference approval is typically a formality.

On Chaotic Wednesday, Senators Hunt for an Endgame
Yemen resolution, contentious nominees complicate escape plans

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., arrives Wednesday for a briefing for all senators with Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Wednesday was not a typical day in the Senate.

On an average Senate day, the visceral, negative response from senators to a closed briefing on U.S. policy on Saudi Arabia might have dominated headlines.

Hyde-Smith Wins Mississippi Senate Runoff
GOP nominee lost corporate support over controversial “public hanging” remark

Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith has won a runoff to fill out the remainder of former Sen. Thad Cochran’s term. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Despite controversial comments and an embrace of Confederate history that cost her the support of corporate donors, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith has won the runoff in Mississippi’s special Senate election.

With 76 percent of precincts reporting, Hyde-Smith led former Democratic Rep. Mike Espy 56 percent to 44 percent when The Associated Press called the race. The appointed senator becomes the first woman from Mississippi to be elected to Congress.

Forest Fires Add Snag to Getting Farm Bill Passed
House-passed version would change forest management policies that opponents say would ease oversight

A Cal Fire firefighter monitors a burning home as the Camp Fire moves through earlier this month in Magalia, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)

Forestry provisions have emerged as the latest snag in farm bill negotiations, sending the issue to congressional leaders for talks to break the impasse.

The forestry provisions in the House-passed version of the farm bill say the proposed changes to federal forest management policies would prevent forest fires — an issue that is now at the forefront after the deadly California fires. Opponents say the proposed changes would ease federal oversight and safeguards needed to limit logging on public lands that could destroy forests habitats and reduce protections for endangered wildlife.

3 Things to Watch in the Mississippi Senate Runoff
Will the Democrats pull off another Alabama on Tuesday?

Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith has campaigned on her strong support for President Donald Trump. Above, the two rally in Tupelo on Monday. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

This time last year, Democrats were becoming increasingly optimistic about flipping a Senate seat in a deep-red state.

And by running against an alleged pedophile, they did — just barely. Doug Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore, who was accused of inappropriate sexual conduct with minors, by a point and a half in an Alabama special election runoff.

The Road to a Spending Showdown Is Paved With Cigars, Guns and Horses
Here’s a rundown of some of the funding disputes bubbling under the radar

it’s not just the headline-grabbing clashes over funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall that could sabotage a deal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers returned to the Capitol this week without an agreement on a year-end spending package that would wrap up seven unfinished bills for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1.

Reaching a deal would require a lot of work in a very short period of time. Both chambers are scheduled to be in session for only eight legislative days before a stopgap funding law runs dry on Dec. 7. If no new package is passed by then, Congress would need another continuing resolution to avoid a partial government shutdown.