Government Shutdown Looms 30 Sep 13

The current extension of the Farm Bill expires at midnight tonight (MON), but it’s on the back burner as Congress deals with a possible federal government shutdown due to lack of a budget deal. The possibility of a government shutdown dominated the debate in Washington last week and this past weekend. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas of Oklahoma still expects Farm Bill conferees to be named this week in the House after the Senate renames their conferees. South Dakota Republican Senator John Thune says negotiating the nutrition portion of the Farm Bill will be the most contentious. Democrats say House Republicans have proposed excessive cuts to the SNAP program, commonly known as food stamps. Republicans respond they’re trying to reign-in out-of-control federal spending. It is still unclear what will happen to the SNAP program if the government shuts down, but officials say that programs such as Medicaid should not be affected, at least initially.