National media will be watching Congress this week as the House and Senate go back into session. While the Iraq war will get a lot of attention, there is plenty of other work to tackle as well, including the 2007 Farm Bill.
According to information from the National Association of Wheat Growers, Hill staffers and commodity groups have been hard at work on language for the 2007 bill during the August recess. However, it is unclear when the Senate Agriculture Committee will take up the measure. Some observers say it could be as early as late September. The House version of the measure passed in July.
NAWG points out several other measures Congress will consider in the coming weeks that can impact ag including the Water Resources Development Act, which passed the House before the recess, but still needs attention on the Senate floor. The free trade agreements for Peru, Panama, Colombia and Korea are also on the agenda, and supported by NAWG and other commodity groups. Last week, during the Farm Progress Show, Ag Secretary Mike Johanns talked about the importance of getting those four agreements passed.
Other measures to watch include issues on rail competition, and a comprehensive energy bill that includes loan guarantees for development of cellulosic ethanol.