President Trump has approved the second round of Market Facilitation Payments, but will they go out before a possible partial government shutdown? The shutdown deadline is midnight Friday. Congress and the President have until then to pass a funding bill that covers nine Cabinet departments, and that includes USDA.
If not, thousands of federal workers will be furloughed, and that may include Farm Service Agency employees who have to process those MFP payments, according to USDA Under Secretary Bill Northey. Northey says the payments will take a week to two weeks to process and that initial payments will go out before the end of the year, but that's only if there is not a government shutdown.
Senate leaders are negotiating to avert that shutdown. Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says there is a plan for a stopgap measure to continue funding the government until February 8th. He called it "a simple measure" to show Republicans are governing. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer says it's good news that President Trump has apparently retreated from his demand that Congress pay for a border wall with Mexico. Schumer called shutting down the government over Christmas "a terrible idea, one of the worst to come down the pike in a very long time."
We talked with Farm Journal Washington Correspondent, Jim Weisemeyer about the possible shutdown and what he's hearing. Watch his conversation with AgDay's Clinton Griffths below. Stay with AgDay on-air and online for the latest on this developing story.