By Jerry Slominski, IDFA Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs and Economic Policy
The health care debate will continue to dominate on Capitol Hill as Congress returns this week. But with the September 30 fiscal year end rapidly approaching, we can expect both the Senate and the House of Representatives to work on spending measures for the coming year.
The House has passed all 12 appropriations bills, but the Senate has passed only four. Because Agriculture is one of the four approved by the Senate, expect a conference to begin soon. It seems clear that the conference will want to spend more money, as provided by the Senate, for dairy farmer relief, but how that will be accomplished has yet to be determined.
With the House finishing its version of a food safety bill, action on that issue has moved to the Senate. Over the August break, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) indicated that food safety was going to be a priority this fall. But the process will be delayed temporarily by the death of Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), who chaired the Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Food and Drug Administration.
Key Senate committees announced that draft climate change legislation would be released in late September, instead of this week as had earlier been announced.