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This week in Congress: CR, farm bill face hurdles

The House and Senate, Republicans and Democrats, have an agreed to pass a continuing resolution to keep government operating at the same spending levels for a six month period.

Lawmakers return to Washington this week for their last work period before the fall election and face the enormous task of averting a government shutdown by passing all of the spending measures they failed to do so this year in one omnibus bill.

The House and Senate, Republicans and Democrats, have an agreement to pass a so-called continuing resolution (CR) to keep government operating at the same spending levels for a six month period, allowing them all to side-step most controversial decisions until early next year.

The trick will be whether they pass the CR by the Sept. 30 deadline without any additional or emergency spending measures that would add to the nation‚??s growing deficit.

Also set to expire on Sept. 30 is the farm bill, which includes massive spending for the food stamp program. A key disagreement is how much spending can be cut from the program ‚?? the Senate funded at $4 billion less while the House wants to cut $16 billion. Both sides failed to reach an agreement before the August recess, and some congressional aides say the impasse is unlikely to be resolved before the election. Another temporary extension is likely for the farm bill, as well as disaster aid for farmers and ranchers facing financial ruin from the summer drought.

Meanwhile, the Senate could take up an authorization bill for the Pentagon and a paycheck fairness bill. The House may consider legislation to help coal companies cut through a regulatory maze constructed by the Obama administration, but with Republicans controlling the House and Democrats holding the Senate, no agreements are expected before the election.

Written By

Audrey Hudson is an award-winning investigative journalist whose enterprise reporting has sparked numerous congressional investigations that led to laws signed by Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. She won the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi award for Public Service in 2009 for her report on dangerous drug experiments by the federal government on war veterans, which prompted internal investigations and needed reforms within the Veterans Affairs Department. The report also captured first place for investigative reporting by the Washington, D.C. chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and was a finalist of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences Webby Awards for news and politics. Her breaking stories have been picked up and followed by major news publications and periodicals, including Readers Digest, Washington Monthly, and The Weekly Standard, as well as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Washington Post. With nearly 20 years of experience in Washington as a newspaper reporter and as a Capitol Hill staffer for Western lawmakers, she will now lead Human Events‚?? coverage of energy and environmental issues. A native of Kentucky, Mrs. Hudson has worked inside the Beltway for nearly two decades -- on Capitol Hill as a Senate and House spokeswoman, and most recently at The Washington Times covering Congress, Homeland Security, and the Supreme Court. Audrey‚??s email is AHudson@EaglePub.Co