Congress Yet to Deal with Ag Appropriations Bill

When Congress returns to Washington D.C., it will have over 100 appropriations bills to work through, including the Ag Appropriations Bill, which Politico says could face some stiff challenges. Both the House and Senate versions of ag appropriations would cut current spending levels by two percent. The toughest policy fights in the ag bill include e-cigarettes, poultry, and food stamps.

The House bill was amended to exempt e-cigarettes and premium cigars from FDA regulation, which appropriations committee Democrats oppose. The Senate bill doesn’t contain that same amendment. A provision in both bills would block a USDA rule requiring stores that accept food stamps to put healthier choices on their shelves. Opponents of the rule say it’s too burdensome for businesses.

The House bill would block the Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration rules giving contract protections to poultry growers while they negotiate with processors. That language is not included with the Senate version of the bill.