After weeks of political wrangling, the Senate and House of Representatives acted on a continuing resolution to enable government operations to continue at largely FY 2016 levels until December 9, 2016. When Congress acts on CRs, Congressional leaders will usually minimize the inclusion of any extraneous provisions. The debate this time around centered around the inclusion of funding to combat the Zika virus, respond to flooding in Louisiana, and fix the water infrastructure system in Flint, MI following the lead contamination disaster. The question of how to address funding for Flint ended up being one of the last sticking points preventing completion of the CR. Following a failed procedural vote in the Senate on Tuesday, House leadership agreed to allow for consideration of an amendment providing funding for Flint as part of Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). With that step being taken, the CR was able to move forward through both the Senate and the House on Wednesday, ultimately meaning the government will not shut down come October 1.
With action on the CR now complete, this will set up the need for action on another CR or an omnibus appropriations bill during the Lame Duck session of Congress following the election. NAWG is focused on a number of priorities in an omnibus appropriations bill, including ensuring there are no cuts to crop insurance or other areas of the Farm Bill, increased funding for the U.S. Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative (as was included in the House and Senate versions of the FY 2017 Agriculture Appropriations bill) and the Small Grains Genomic Initiative, limitations on funding for implementation of the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule, sufficient funding for FSA loan programs, and funding for a study required by the new GMO labeling law, among other priorities.