LYONS, Nebr.―A partial government shutdown has been in effect for 20 days after lawmakers in Washington, D.C., failed to pass funding bills.
Anna Johnson, policy manager of the Center for Rural Affairs, says the timing and length of this shutdown is cause for concern, and the new Congress should pass a bill to reopen the government, immediately.
“Legislators spent the better part of 2018 negotiating a new farm bill,” she said. “While not perfect, it offers a great deal of certainty for farmers, ranchers, and rural communities for the next five years.”
However, activity on the new farm bill is essentially halted due to the shutdown.
“Right now should be one of the busiest times at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA): they have hundreds of pages of new marching orders in the new farm bill,” Johnson said.
Instead, USDA activities ranging from farm loans and farm payments to rural development loans and grants are shut down. Other halted activities include investigation of fraudulent and anti-competitive activities by packers and stockyards, and more.
“To serve the country and do their jobs effectively, USDA employees need to be at work,” Johnson said. “Congress should pass a spending bill to reopen the government, and override any potential presidential veto.”