Even as Congress scrambled to prevent a shutdown of the federal government, they made a little progress on a new farm bill over the weekend.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a rule rejoining the two halves of the farm bill Saturday with a 226-217 vote. The nutrition half of the farm bill remains authorized for only three years; the farm policy bill is authorized for five.
The Senate is now expected to reject the measure and ask for a conference. The Senate would then reappoint it conferees and send a message to the House, at which time House Speaker John Boehner would then appoint House conferees.
Optimism on Capitol Hill remains low that a farm bill conference, even with all measures in place, will occur any time within the next few weeks.