September 14, 2012
The House of Representatives this week passed a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government for six months.
The Senate is expected to take up the CR by next Thursday. The White House was part of the negotiations for the CR, and President Barack Obama is expected to sign it.
The passage of the CR means that all the appropriations bills, including the one for agriculture and related agencies, will be discarded. Most agriculture department programs will be continued at the current level through March 2013.
A procedural move pushed by Rep. Bruce Braley (Iowa) to allow the full U.S. House to vote on that body's version of the Farm Bill moved ahead Thursday. Thirty-nine House members signed the discharge petition only hours after it was available.
A majority of House members would have to sign the petition to force the House leadership to bring up the House Agriculture Committee-passed Farm Bill on the floor for consideration. Discharge petitions rarely work, but they sometimes force House leaders to bring up a bill to avoid the embarrassment of a display of opposition.
The Senate will head home next Thursday, and the House is likely to follow suit. The House is scheduled to be in session Wednesday through Friday of next week, out the week of Sept. 24 and back in session Oct. 1-5. But with the Senate gone, it seems likely House members will also leave Washington at the end of next week until after the Nov. 6 elections.
Both chambers are scheduled to return on Nov. 13 for the lame duck session.