Even as Congressional leaders announced a deal on some appropriations for fiscal year 2024 on Sunday, Jan. 7, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Vice President of Government Affairs, Ethan Lane said the industry is watching D.C.

“All of agriculture is watching the debate over government funding playing out on Capitol Hill at the moment. That first tranche of the Continuing Resolution spending authority that the government is operating under right now expires on January 19th,” he explained. “That first tranche includes critical programs for cattle producers and farmers and ranchers around the country.”

That’s because of the ag appropriations bill included in that package along with Energy-Water, Transportation-HUD, and Military Construction-VA. Lane says there are hoops for the bill to get through.

“So, it really is going to be kind of all eyes on that discussion and how the border security fight is going to play into that, and how Speaker Johnson is going to navigate the Freedom Caucus that’s already criticizing the deal that he has struck with Chuck Schumer in the in the US Senate, and what those prospects may be,” Lane said.

However, Lane adds there’s much to learn from Congress over the coming days.

“We’re back to talking about what a shutdown could mean for cattle producers and for the ag industry in particular and across the economy as the Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill battle over how to get this funding authority completed so they can get on to other business,” Lane said. “And it’s going to provide a road map really for what we can expect in Farm Bill discussions at the end of this Congress as it comes to a close over the next eleven months.

“It really is going to be difficult with those tight majorities and shrinking majority for House Republicans, with the departure of Kevin McCarthy and others, to get something done on a partisan-only basis. So, what happens in the next two weeks with spending authority is going to be a really good road map for what kind of fight we can expect on the farm bill in the coming months.”