The House Finally Has a Speaker

By Jordan Dux, Sr. Director of National Affairs

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives finally moved out of “neutral” and elected Mike Johnson (R-La.) to succeed Kevin McCarthey as the 56th Speaker of the House of Representatives. Speaker Johnson’s district encompasses a large portion of Louisiana and is home to significant agricultural production. Farm Bureau has had a good relationship with the new speaker since his election in 2016. However, outside of the political noise, the question remains, what does any of this mean for farmers and ranchers? The answer, as hopefully we all know, is “a lot.”

During his run for the Speakership, Congressman Johnson indicated he first planned on working to fund the federal government into next year, avoiding a government shutdown on November 17 when the current Continuing Resolution expires. Obviously, the larger happenings of the world, the continued war between Russia and Ukraine as well as the war in Israel, also rank high on the new Speaker’s To-Do list. However, also included on that list was to pass a Farm Bill through the House in December. However, the movement to pass a year-long extension also continues to pick up steam.

Last week, I had the privilege to take members of Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee to Washington, D.C. as part of their annual federal lobbying trip. In conversations with all five members of Nebraska’s congressional delegation and in conversations around town, it became clearer that Congress will need additional time to get their work on crafting the new Farm Bill. Both House and Senate Agriculture Committee Leadership have even come out expressing support for a year-long extension, but ai will also follow-up saying it shouldn’t take a full year to finish the legislation. As I look into my legislative crystal ball (which is wrong as often as it is right), I think an extension appears likely. I also am seeing the potential for a larger fight over the overall cost of the legislation as well as a fight over additional resources for the “farm” portion of the Farm Bill increasing. However, I also still see a Farm Bill moving out of the House and the Senate and to the President’s desk for his signature. When all of that may happen isn’t nearly as clear in the crystal ball as the prior predictions.

No matter what happens, extension, new bill passed next year, or political battles over the bill’s details, we will make sure we keep members as up-to-date as we can. We will also likely call on each of you at some point in the later stages of this process to send a message or make a phone call to Capitol Hill. While we are blessed with a congressional delegation who understands and appreciates the many complexities of Farm Bill negotiations, we will likely need your voices to help ensure we get the Farm Bill we need to help farmers and ranchers manage the risk inherent in food production. As always thank you for all that you do for our organization, and please reach out if you have any questions about this or any other federal issue. ~Jordan 

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