Crop Insurance Safe in Budget Agreement; Positive Train Control Delay Up to Five Years
As Promised, outgoing House Speaker John Boehner helped push a budget deal through the House that in his words, was an effort to not “leave the barn full of you know what.” The budget agreement reached between Congressional leaders and the White House passed the House late Wednesday, and thanks to quick work by the House and Senate agriculture committees, the budget will not include cuts to crop insurance, as intended, but only in a round-about way. Congressional leaders told members concerned about the crop insurance programs they hope to address the issue in an omnibus spending bill. That means the cuts are still included in the budget agreement, but will be removed in a later bill.
The U.S. House has passed a bill this week to delay Positive Train Control three to five years. That’s welcome news to agriculture as the mandates deadline at the end of the year was expected to cause shipping delays for inputs and grain. However, Senate action is still needed to ensure the deadline extension. The bill passed on a voice vote with little debate. The Association of American Railroads, the Federal Railroad Administration, and the Government Accountability Office have all said that the railroads did not have enough time to comply with the previous law before the Dec. 31 deadline.