Deal reached on stopgap funding bill; quick House vote scheduled

Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., a freshman who knocked off a GOP incumbent two years ago, tweeted Tuesday that taking farm spending authority out of the stopgap was a “partisan move that slows down much-needed relief for farmers and agribusinesses.”

Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, the top Democrat on the Agriculture Committee, said Monday that the farm money has been used as a “slush fund” for favored political interests, including oil refiners.

Other Democrats had also picked up on that talking point after Reuters reported earlier this month that the Trump administration had considered diverting up to $300 million in CCC funds to refiners who were denied waivers from costly renewable fuels quotas. Reuters reported late Monday that the tentative plan had been shelved.

Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said he didn’t know anything about such a plan. “There’s nothing that we can find in there for Big Oil, or small oil, or anything,” he said.

The House Agriculture Committee’s top Republican, K. Michael Conaway of Texas, had tried Monday to offer an amendment that would restore both the farm payments and the school nutrition program extension, but was blocked by Rules Committee Democrats.

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