Tracking horti priorities on the eve of budget deadline

Tracking horti priorities on the eve of budget deadline

As we enter a period of divided government with slim majorities in Congress, legislative gridlock will become the rule over the next two years leading up to the 2024 presidential election. A couple exceptions to the rule, however, probably include bills important to growers, including the 2023 Farm Bill re-write and a new Water Resources Development Act. Attention meanwhile will turn to the Biden Administration, where the pace of new regulations will increase as the President seeks policy wins through rulemaking that cannot be obtained through legislation.

But before Congress swears in a new class on Jan. 3, 2023, it must check off a lengthy to-do list, atop which sits a Fiscal Year 2023 budget agreement. Before leaving town for election day, Congress self-imposed a deadline of Dec. 16, 2022, to either extend government funding or enact a new full year spending bill. Between the House and Senate version of the spending bill introduced earlier in 2022, several horticulture priorities remain in play.

In spring, AmericanHort advocated to increase funding for the Floriculture and Nursery Research Initiative, our sector’s dedicated research program. The House proposed a 20% increase, while the Senate proposed a 28% increase. The House and Senate also proposed different funding levels for the IR-4 Project, another industry priority line-item which funds data development to support registration of crop protection tools for our growers. Also in play is H-2B cap relief, with both the House and Senate proposals enabling the release of supplemental visas, though the House bill includes streamlining language to make additional visas available earlier in the season. Favorable reconciliation of these proposals is a focus of advocacy efforts over the next several weeks.

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