Legislative Update

Please see the following message from Hunter Moorhead, NASCOE Legislative Consultant. We will continue to keep you updated as things in the legislative arena develop.

Good afternoon – Please accept this informal email as an update on both the legislative outlook and the Trump transition process.

Legislative Outlook – The House and Senate are working aggressively to pass two or three important bills before adjourning. The 114th Congress is likely to expire Friday afternoon or Saturday morning. Before hitting the doors, Congress will likely pass the Continuing Resolution which will fund the government through April 28, 2017. The level for FSA and FSA programs will continue at current levels. At this point, the Congress is expected to redraft/complete the drafted fiscal year 2017 appropriations bills. In my opinion, that will be difficult considering the new President and new agenda for 2017. The National Defense Authorization bill and Water Resources Development bill will likely be the only significant pieces of legislation reaching this President’s desk before adjournment.

In regard to our interest, the Continuing Resolution includes our FSA specific policy riders and adequately funds the agency. The bill doesn’t include any additional funding/Farm Bill implementation funding to extend or hire temporary workers.

Trump Transition – We are all doing our best to monitor the Trump transition process for all positions within the Executive branch. At this point, it is difficult to determine who will become the Secretary of Agriculture, much less any policy proposals that may impact employees or farm programs. Remember, President-elect Trump’s inauguration will not occur until the end of January. At that point, the Administration will likely move quickly to address burdensome government regulations and repeal Obamacare or the ACA Health Care law. In addition, the Administration and Congress will quickly focus on overhauling the tax code. I’m hopeful that you all understand the timelines and know that nobody has the answers regarding Trump’s policy proposals. Most news articles are based on press comments and twitter feeds that come and go.

Who will be the Secretary of Agriculture? If anybody tells you they know, they are lying unless you hear it directly from the incoming President or Vice President. Remember, it could certainly be a person who has not been mentioned. This transition team is using decoys to shield actual candidates.