Debate ramps up this week about appropriations as both houses of Congress debate spending bills that will provide funding for fiscal 2012 programs, including those for agriculture. The action is front and center again, since any delay in a vote would result in a potential government shutdown.

Ag programs include agricultural research and education, natural resources conservation programs, food safety, telecommunications and rural economic and community development, according to American Farm Bureau Appropriations Specialist R.J. Karney.

Sources say that in general, the House agriculture appropriations bill differs from the Senate bill by making steeper cuts nearly across the board, although they both offer significant reductions.

“On Friday, November 18th, the previous continuing resolution expires,” Karney explains. “The continuing resolution provides the funding for the federal government. Another continuing resolution needs to be passed to provide that funding for the federal government to be open. 

“The game plan is the House and Senate will approve the ag appropriations spending bill and attached to that will be a continuing resolution for other programs to continue receiving funding,” she adds.

Check out what’s on the agenda for your federal legislators this week.