Fox on the HillSeptember 19, 2016 – Newsletters
With 49 days until Election Day, polls continue to tighten between Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump. A new CBS poll shows the nominees statistically tied in the battleground states of New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Colorado, Nevada and Arizona.
Every five years, Congress passes a Farm Bill. The next Farm Bill is not due to be renewed until 2019, but is already on the minds of some lawmakers. Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), the ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, has said if the farm economy reaches crisis proportions, Congress’s only option may be to enact the next Farm Bill early. According to the Department of Agriculture, depressed prices have led to a sharp drop in farm incomes, which are not expected to rise in the near term. While other members and industry groups agree with Peterson, the negotiations will be riddled with challenges, including corporate farm subsidies, environmental concerns, a new Presidential administration and a new Congress.
The Senate could vote as early as today on a continuing resolution — a stopgap funding measure that would fund the government and include funding for Zika virus eradication and response. It is expected that the Senate will pass a continuing resolution to fund the government through mid-December. Members of the House Freedom Caucus have been vocal about their opposition to a continuing resolution that funds the government only through mid-December; the Caucus has been pushing for a stopgap measure through March. However, it appears likely that the remainder (a majority) of Republicans and Democrats in the House will pass a measure through mid-December, rather than risk a government shut-down during the weeks leading up to elections.
Foreign Affairs and National Security
The House will vote this week on legislation that would reaffirm existing law prohibiting the U.S. government from paying ransom for the release of prisoners or hostages. Specifically, the bill requires the president to publicly disclose any payments made to foreign governments and to obtain a Treasury foreign assets license before a financial claims settlement can take place. The legislation is a response to the revelation that the Obama Administration paid $400 million to Iran shortly before the release of several American prisoners. The Obama Administration maintains that the payment was a portion of the $1.7 billion settlement reach months before to resolve a decades-old dispute over an arms deal.
The Senate passed the Water Resources Development Act last week. The legislation authorizes $9 billion to repair ports, dams, levees and other navigation, environmental, clean water and waste water infrastructure. The bill also includes $270 million in aid to Flint, MI. The House has yet to take up the legislation.