Thursday, December 03, 2015

Rider blocking Waters of the U.S. rule a sticking point in budget talks

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said a policy rider included in negotiations for the omnibus budget bill that would block implementation of the Obama administration's Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rules has significant Democratic support, Philip Brasher reports for Agri-Pulse. The rider redefines which ditches, wetlands, streams and other feature fall under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act. When asked if the White House was resisting the provision, Cole told Brasher, “They're not as flexible as they need to be.”

Brashers writes, "The appropriations provision would guarantee that the rule could not be implemented even if the court stays were lifted. And once enacted, lawmakers believe the WOTUS provision could be extended beyond fiscal 2016." Another rider, introduced by Democrats, calls for a ban on horse slaughter.

"Lawmakers are trying to wrap up negotiations on the massive, omnibus spending bill by the end Friday so that the Senate and House have time to debate before the continuing resolution that is currently funding the government expires Dec. 11," Brasher writes. "The omnibus is critical to agriculture interests beyond the WOTUS issue because the bill would provide the legislative vehicle for moving several major pieces of legislation that are being negotiated in the Senate, including a repeal of mandatory country-of-origin labeling law for meat and reauthorization of child nutrition programs and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The food industry also wants to use the bill to enact legislation that would block state GMO labeling laws." (Read more)

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