Today In Washington
January 9, 2018
Source: AEO Government Relations Team, Madison Services Group

Budget: Come On Over
Today, President Trump is scheduled to host a bipartisan group of Congressional leaders as negotiations continue toward a budget deal, ahead of the January 19 expiration of the current continuing appropriations resolution (CR). The discussion is expected to center on immigration. Democrats are pushing for a deal for nearly 800,000 “Dreamers” — children brought to the United States illegally as children — through an extension of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The White House has laid down a list of demands, including an end to the diversity visa lottery program, a physical border wall and an end to chain migration — where legal citizens can sponsor the immigration of family members — which Democrats see as a nonstarter. Democrats see a deal on immigration as a prerequisite for negotiating a deal to lift mandatory budget caps implemented through the “Budget Control Act of 2011.” The GOP is seeking higher defense spending, while Democrats demand that any increase in defense be matched by a corresponding funding boost to domestic programs. As a reminder, in the Senate, FY 2018 budget bills require nine Democrats to pass.
On Deck: The Farm Bill
Yesterday, the President and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue spoke at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual conference in Nashville. The speech coincided with the release of the USDA’s “Taskforce on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity Report” — designed to guide Congress in their deliberations — laying out what the USDA would like to see in the legislation. The report’s recommendations include an expansion of rural broadband, increased access to capital through debt and equity financing, and the creation of an online Rural Prosperity Investment Portal to incentivize public-private partnerships.
As a primer, the Farm Bill is a five-year authorization of programs regulated through the USDA. These programs include Rural Development, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the regulation of commodities. The current Farm Bill — passed as the “Agriculture Act of 2014” following the collapse of the 2012 Farm Bill in the House — expires at the end of FY 2018.