Farm Bill

Health Industry Reports Lobbying Costs the Size of a Grapefruit — Drugmakers Lead
Expenses on track to surpass 2017 numbers

Pharmacist Hank Wedemeyer fills prescriptions as generic diabetes medicine awaits distribution at a community health center for low-income patients on December 1, 2009 in Aurora, Colorado. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Prescription drugmakers are on track to exceed their lobbying spending from last year, according to third quarter disclosure forms that were due Monday.

In 2017, the industry spent $171.6 million. During the first half of 2018, drugmakers spent almost $95.4 million, putting them on pace to top last year’s total.

Stick With Senate Farm Bill or Extend Existing Law, Groups Say
Agriculture committee staffers in both chambers continue to work on compromise

Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., helped push through their farm bill that passed the chamber on an 86-11 vote. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Unless key farm bill negotiators use the Senate version as the template for a new bill, an extension of the now expired 2014 farm law would be better than using the House farm bill as the basis for a conference report, representatives from nutrition, environmental, small farmer and food policy groups said Monday.

At a briefing, the organizations said the House and Senate farm bills differ sharply in important areas. While they want a new bill to replace the farm law that expired Sept. 30, the organizations say they represent a broad coalition that would oppose a bill based on the House farm bill version, which calls for changes, including to farm payments and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Capitol Ink | Farm Bill Pumpkin

Mitch McConnell Sees Electoral Gains From Fight Over Brett Kavanaugh
Interview with Roll Call came ahead of confirmation vote

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell makes his way through the Capitol for a TV interview before the vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on Saturday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As Brett Kavanaugh was on the verge of confirmation Saturday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was sounding sure the Supreme Court battle will prove a benefit to Senate Republicans at the polls in November.

In an interview with Roll Call a month ahead of Election Day, the Kentucky Republican said the debate was really driving up base enthusiasm for the 2018 mid-terms.

Senate Clears Big Aviation, Opioid Legislation Under Shadow of Brett Kavanaugh and FBI
Pending water resources deal could be last major legislative item before Election Day

A reauthorization of the FAA will be among the final pieces of big-ticket legislation to pass before Election Day. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate’s never-ending Supreme Court drama continued to overshadow a pair of bipartisan legislative wins — with at least one more expected before Election Day.

As senators awaited a supplemental report from the FBI about sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, they cleared for President Donald Trump a big bipartisan bundle of bills to combat the opioid scourge and a long-awaited reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Farm Law Expires As Negotiators Remain Divided on New Bill
Roberts: ‘stark differences of opinion’ about House and Senate versions

Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Senate Agriculture Committee chairman, says there are stark differences between the House and Senate farm bills. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The 2014 farm bill expired Sunday, ending dozens of programs and putting others in a holding pattern until four key lawmakers either produce a replacement bill or seek some form of extension of the now defunct law.

The four principal negotiators working on a 2018 farm bill say they hope to resolve differences between House and Senate farm bills and have a conference report ready in October for a vote in the lame-duck session in November or December.

These Farm Programs Will Turn Into Pumpkins Sunday If Congress Doesn’t Act
Top negotiator on farm bill doesn’t want extension that could keep them afloat

Work requirements for SNAP recipients have been a sticking point as lawmakers try to reach a deal on the farm bill. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images file photo)

Dozens of programs for military veterans turned farmers, small rural businesses and expanding foreign markets for agriculture will end Sunday if lawmakers do not extend the expiring 2014 farm bill.

Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts of Kansas said Monday that “it’ll be a tall order” to get a replacement for the current law completed and enacted before the midterm elections in November.

Chuck Schumer Navigates the Resistance
The Senate’s Democratic leader wants to get along with everyone. Now he finds himself between Scylla and Charybdis

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Charles Schumer waves an American flag after unveiling the Democrats’ ‘Better Deal for Our Democracy’ platform in May. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Back when he was policy director for Sen. Charles E. Schumer, Jim Kessler had a conversation with his boss about working with a high-profile Republican. This is how it went, according to Kessler.

Schumer: I can call Newt, he likes me.

Congressional Schedule Shows a Light Week Ahead
Agenda abbreviated by Rosh Hashanah on Monday and Tuesday

The congressional schedule is slightly abbreviated next year because of Rosh Hashanah. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Both chambers of Congress will have abbreviated schedules this coming week, largely due to Rosh Hashanah, which begins in the evening on Sept. 9 and ends on the evening on Tuesday, Sept. 11. 

On Monday and Tuesday, no votes are expected in either chamber. 

Another Farm Bill Trouble Spot: Ex-Prisoners Growing Hemp
The conference committee met Wednesday morning ahead of the Sept. 30 deadline

Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., opened the first public meeting of the farm bill conference committee Wednesday along with along with Rep. K. Michael Conaway, R-Texas (not pictured). (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Advocates for criminal justice reform hope to convince lawmakers to reject a provision by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the Senate farm bill that would deny people with drug felony convictions the chance to be hemp farmers.

Nine Senate and 47 House negotiators met publicly for the first time Wednesday to lay out their positions on how to proceed in reconciling House and Senate versions of the five-year legislation. Lawmakers will push to have a compromise bill ready before the current farm and food policy law expires Sept. 30.