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Congress Leaves Unfinished Business

Dec 08, 2016

The post-election, lame duck 114th Congress is expected to conclude this weekend after Congress approves another short-term funding measure that will keep the federal government open until the end of April 2017. The funding measure, known as a continuing resolution or CR, passed in the House today. The timing for Senate consideration is not yet clear, but a vote on final passage is expected by Sunday morning at the latest.

The CR is needed because Congress did not pass legislation to fund the federal government through 2017 using the appropriations process. 

Congress also did not act to reauthorize child nutrition programs before adjourning, even though committees in both the Senate and House approved reauthorization bills earlier this year. Both of these bills included provisions supported by IDFA and the National Milk Producers Federation to bolster the school milk program.

“The new Congress will have to finish work on the child nutrition programs, as well as review the status of regulations that were finalized toward the end of the Obama Administration,” said Dave Carlin, IDFA senior vice president of legislative affairs and economic policy. “Under an existing law called the Congressional Review Act, the new Congress may vote to overturn certain final rules issued by the outgoing administration in the last 60 days of this congressional session.”

IDFA is actively reviewing regulations that may come under the Congressional Review Act.

New Administration Taking Shape

As work is piling up for the new Congress, so too is the list of nominees for President-elect Trump’s cabinet. In addition to designating secretaries for the Department of Defense  the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Education, Trump has also announced top level nominees at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA). 

Representative Tom Price (R-GA) will be nominated to be HHS Secretary. He is currently the chairman of the House Budget Committee and a leading proponent of repealing the Affordable Care Act. HHS has oversight of the Food and Drug Administration as well as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Notably for IDFA members, Price voted with IDFA in support of a 2014 farm bill amendment to authorize the Margin Protection Program for Dairy without a supply management component.

Other nominees of interest include Scott Pruitt, the attorney general of Oklahoma, to head the EPA, and Linda McMahon, the co-founder of the pro-wrestling enterprise World Wrestling Entertainment, to head the SBA. Pruitt is expected to be a strong critic of overreaching regulations under EPA programs. McMahon, a Republican from Connecticut, ran for the U.S. Senate in 2010 and 2012. She lost both elections but is politically savvy and expected to be strongly supportive of business interests.

So far a nominee has not been announced for U.S. Department of Agriculture secretary, but a name may be coming soon, according to Carlin.

IDFA will be meeting with key members of the new administration and Congress when the 115th Congress is sworn in on Jan. 3.

Members with questions may contact Carlin at dcarlin@idfa.org.

 

 
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