Congress failed to pass a controversial Farm Bill before the Sept. 30 expiration, with House Republicans pinning the blame on the Senate, The Hill reports.
The lapse leaves about 40 programs without a budget baseline beyond fiscal year 2018, including a government-funded trade program widely utilized by various U.S. agriculture sectors. In all, the programs had mandatory spending totaling $2.8 billion over the five-year farm bill.
The legislation, which is expected to authorize roughly a trillion dollars in spending over the next decade, will be taken up by a lame-duck session of Congress following the November elections. Both the House and Senate passed versions of the farm bill in June, but lawmakers could not agree on several issues, including food stamps.
The House version of the bill includes expanded work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) while the Senate version does not. Issues like energy policy and commodity, and how to pay for various proposals, are also to blame for the standoff.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, told The Hill he was working with the USDA, especially on the non-baseline programs so they keep running.
"They're the ones that can be affected over the next few months and for the life of me, I cannot understand why the Democrats in the Senate have decided they didn't want to come up with a compromise," Conaway said.
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