White House and Congressional Leaders Reach Deal on FY 2020 & 2021 Budget

On August 2, President Trump signed into law a two-year federal budget deal totaling $2.7 trillion. Background The White House and congressional leaders announced on July 22 that a comprehensive deal had been worked out on the top line spending numbers for the U.S. discretionary budget for fiscal years 2020 and 2021. Pressure had been…

Defense Procurement Continues Evolving

While President Obama decides on whether or not to veto the FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), it remains certain that more changes in defense procurement practices are on the way. The House and Senate Armed Services Committees are focused on improving the structure and process of the military acquisition systems by providing business reforms that reduce overhead and achieve needed efficiency.…

Preliminary Rosters For US Senate Agriculture & Appropriations Committees

The U.S. Senate has announced the preliminary rosters for Committee assignments in the upcoming 114th Congress. 06507_StabenowHearingRoom05142013 Below is the membership list for the Agriculture Committee and the Appropriations Committee.  The rosters for the U.S. House remain only partially complete.  The Senate committee chairmen will be officially named in January after the 114th Congress is sworn in however it is widely believed that the chairmen of these two committees are set.  These rosters are preliminary and are subject to change.…

House Appropriation Posts

Robert Aderholt (R-AL) Agriculture Chairman

Robert Aderholt (R-AL) Agriculture Chairman

U.S. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) announced the full slate of House members who will chair appropriations subcommittees in the upcoming 114th Congress.  The winners of these coveted chairmanships are known as “Cardinals,” and among them are five new chairman. They are:

  • Tom Cole (R-OK) Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education
  • Maio Diaz-Balart (R-FL) Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development
  • Charlie Dent (R-PA) Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs
  • Tom Graves (R-GA) Subcommittee on Legislative Branch
  • John Culberson (R-TX) Subcommittee on (Departments of) Commerce, State & Justice

Administration to Re-Direct up to $473.4 Million in Unused Earmarks

Are Your State Transportation Funds Impacted?

On August 17th, the Obama Administration announced that it would use up to $473.4 million in unused appropriation earmarks provided by previous Congresses spanning from 2003 to 2006 to pay for new transportation projects. US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the Administration scoured the federal government to identify the unused funds while Congress was enduring rancorous debate on the on-again, off-again transportation re-authorization negotiations that ultimately ended up in a $105 billion, 2-year deal. The deal was reached just prior to the expiration of the ninth extension (2009) of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU).…

Senate Action on Agriculture Appropriations

Recently the US Senate invoked cloture by a vote of 82-16 on the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies FY 2012 Appropriations Bill.  By invoking cloture the Senate limits debate on the bill for up to 30 hours and allows for debate on amendments. (Cloture is a motion or process aimed at bringing debate to a quick end.)

The Senate adjourned on Friday and will reconvene after their scheduled recess on October 31. Several amendments have been filed to the Agriculture Appropriations bill.  As reported earlier, the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Bill is part of a minibus package with Transportation-Housing and Urban Development, and Commerce-Justice-Science.…

Super Committee on Deficit Reduction Receives Proposals

Super CommitteeFriday, October 14 was the deadline for recommendations to the 12-member Super Committee on Deficit Reduction on how to cut federal spending by up to $1.2 trillion.  With the Nov. 23 deadline for the super committee to unveil a proposal fast approaching, no one is certain how the 12-member Committee will go through the mounds of proposals, emails and data they have, and are continuing to receive. National Journal is reporting that “few if any of the suggestions (received) are likely to be innovative or ground-breaking in terms of policy.”

Yesterday, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Ranking Member Pat Roberts (R-KS) met with US House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MM) sent their proposal that cuts $23 billion from the agriculture budget baseline.  This may allow the agriculture committees to complete the next Farm Bill by the end of this session.…

Appropriations Minibus Will Include Agriculture and Another CR Through mid-December

The House and Senate are set to adopt three combined appropriations bills, dubbed “Minibus,” and send them to President Obama by the end of this week.  Under an agreement reached earlier between leaders of the House and Senate the appropriations bills include

The combined bills total just over $180 billion in annual spending. 

The federal government remains under a Continuing Resolution (CR) until this Friday, November 18. With this deadline fast approaching, lawmakers will attach another CR to the Minibus in order to keep the federal government operating thrrough mid-December.  Congress will adjourn on Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday and upon their return continue working to complete the remaining annual appropriations bills.…

Reducing Regulatory Burdens & Stimulating Jobs

Reducing Regulatory BurdenThe U.S. House continues to focus on numerous federal regulations deemed as “overburdensome” and that if ended, may stimulate the economy and create jobs. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) has sent a letter to President Obama requesting a list of all proposed regulations that are estimated to have an economic impact exceeding $1 billion.…

Transportation Reauthorization

Transportation ReauthorizationThe U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee led by Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Ranking Member Jim Inhofe (R-OK) wasted little time after Congress’ return from the August recess to adopt a short-term extension of the surface-transportation legislation, Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act of 2005: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA; P.L. 109-59). SAFETEA-LU is set to expire at the end of the federal fiscal year on September 30, 2011. The adopted extension funds highway programs at current levels through January 31, 2012.

The republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives responded by adopting  a six- month funding extension (at current levels) for surface-transportation and a four month funding extension for the Federal Aviation Administration.

With funding deadlines fast approaching and to prevent funding lapses, the U.S. Senate will adopt the same extension provisions later this week. …

2012 Appropriations Bills & Food Safety Fight May Be Brewing

Agriculture Appropriations BillOn Wednesday of this week the U.S. House is scheduled to take up H.J. Resolution 79, making continuing appropriations for seven weeks into the new (FY 2012) fiscal year.  H.J. Res 79 funds most federal programs through November 18 at the FY 2011 level, minus a 1.4 percent reduction. This level of appropriations was established in the recently enacted debt limitation law (P.L. 112-25) establishing a $1.043 trillion spending cap.

The U.S. Senate must quickly take up the bill as Congress is scheduled to recess the last week of September.  With the new federal fiscal year beginning in 11 days (on Oct 1), none of the 12 appropriations bills have been enacted by Congress.

According to the 112th congressional calendar, 26 legislative days remain until the targeted adjournment on December 8. With only a few legislative days remaining already the House and Senate are headed for heated arguments in the usually congenial agriculture appropriations subcommittee over the new food safety law enacted at the beginning of this year.

Earlier this month the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee adopted their version of an FY 2012 spending bill for the US Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration. The U.S. House adopted their version of the bill on June 16  by a vote of 217-203. The provisions showcase a difference of opinion in implementing the new food safety law.

Specifically, the FY 2012 FDA budget request was $4.36 billion for all programs, of which just over $1.2 billion was allocated for food safety and animal drugs and feed. FDA requested an additional $324 million for the food safety initiative.  Previously, the Congressional Budget Office estimated an additional $1.4 billion would be needed over the next five years to implement the Food Safety Modernization law (FSMA).

JSCDR First Meeting & “Recommendations”

Congressional action

Find Deficit Cuts!

The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reductions (JSCDR) is charged with identifying $1.5 trillion in deficit cuts by November 23. Should the Committee not surface at least $1.2 trillion in cuts, automatic cuts will be triggered to domestic and defense program spending in 2013. The first meeting of the JSCDR showcased some of the major difficulties panel members will face over the course of the next 76 days.…

Fiscal Year 2012 begins in less than 3 weeks!

The new FY 2012 begins on October 1. Yes, that is less than 3 weeks away.

Currently, the U.S. House of Representatives has adopted half of the 12 annual appropriations bill including Homeland Security, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, Defense, Energy & Water and Legislative Branch.  Three Committees have voted to send their bills to the House floor for debate and final passage including Commerce, Justice and Science, Financial Services, Interior & Environment.  Three Committees have yet to adopt their bills; Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, State and Foreign Operations and Transportation and Housing and Urban Development.…

A Farm Policy Battle Continues This Week, But The War is Far From Over!

Congressman Jeff Flake on Farm Bill, Cansler ConsultingA Farm Policy Battle continues to wage in the U.S. House of Representatives this week showcasing the escalating issue over how Congress must change current U.S. agricultural programs in the 2012 Farm Bill ruled as “trade distorting” by the World Trade Organization (WTO).

“Do NOT Pay the $147 Million…”
Passed By Voice Vote

During the U.S. House Appropriations (full) Committee hearing on May 31, Congressman Jeff Flake (R-AZ), (a member of the Tea Party Caucus that promotes fiscal responsibility) offered an amendment to the Agriculture Appropriations bill that reduces direct payments to U.S. cotton producers by $147 million, the amount equal to the Framework Agreement with Brazil. Congressman Flake’s amendment was adopted by a voice vote of the Appropriations Committee members.…