Congress agenda enters big unknown

Agenda for Congressional Action Unclear, but Full Nevertheless
National Association of Wheat Growers

Congress largely paused legislative business and partisan rancor this week following the tragic shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and 19 other people on Jan. 8. The House of Representatives on Wednesday took up a resolution condemning the attack, but otherwise put off anticipated debate on health care reform repeal until next week. The House’s week will be short, though, with Martin Luther King Day on Monday and party retreats taking time away from the schedule. The chamber’s next scheduled break is a “constituent work week” set from Jan. 31 until Feb. 4.

On the other side of the Capitol, the Senate is in recess until Jan. 25.

When both chambers return, funding the government is likely to be front and center, with an existing continuing resolution expiring in early March and a new House Majority interested in cutting spending.

Some important milestones to watch in the coming weeks include:

– President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech, scheduled for the evening of Jan. 25.
– The Obama Administration’s budget proposal is reportedly slated for release the second week of February.
– The current continuing resolution funding federal government activities expires March 4.
– The Department of the Treasury has reported that the nation’s debt ceiling, beyond which the U.S. cannot legally borrow, will be reached by March 31. This limit is mandated by Congress and, conventional wisdom says, will have to be raised to prevent the country from going into default.

Neither of the agriculture committees have officially organized and finalized their committee rosters, though House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) has announced his party’s membership for his Committee.

NAWG will continue to follow developments in the Hill agenda as growers arrive in Washington for the Wheat Industry Winter Conference, starting Monday.

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