WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) -- Congress has a couple of big issues before them, but it’s not known if they will be resolved before recess at the end of the week. One issue is the special budget committee charged with the task of creating a compromise to avoid government shutdown. The other is the still-unfinished farm bill.
Congressman Sean Duffy is optimistic the special budget committee that includes Co-Chairman Paul Ryan from Wisconsin and Senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson will agree on a plan by Friday. “I think there’s a good possibility we’ll get a budget deal before the end of this week, but if we don’t, I think there’s a lot of us in the House that don’t want to see the government shut down. I’m one of them, and we will pass then a short to mid-term funding bill that funds the government at sequester levels, because we don’t want to see the government shut down. We want to see the government function. We want to see it work. We want to see it do its job.”
Duffy says if the committee fails to come to an agreement, he and several other members of Congress do not plan to let government shut down again. “What we’re asking this Paul Ryan-Patty Murray conversation to do is actually hit spending numbers, so our appropriators can do the appropriations bills, which is more of a regular order of how spending should take place in our government. If that doesn’t work, we’ll do another continuing resolution. That’s just a big funding bill. Not the best way to spend and not the best way to govern, but it’s a heck of a lot better than having the government shutdown without any dollars there.”
The Farm Bill has been delayed several times, and Duffy says this may not get done before the new year. “Again, I’m hopeful that we’ll find a compromise and agreement coming out of the conference between both of those chambers, and Republicans and Democrats, but time is running out this year, so if it doesn’t finish by the end of this week, we’re going to have to look into next year to make that happen.”
Republicans separated the farm programs from the food stamp assistance programs and passed two separate packages in the House of Representatives. The Democrat-controlled Senate rejected the House bills, and the whole farm bill is in conference committee now.
(You can listen to Congressman Sean Duffy's interview on our website, here.)