Vilsack due back on the Hill to discuss spending, farm bill

By Marc Heller | 02/26/2024 06:19 AM EST

Senate lawmakers will get to question the Agriculture secretary after a tense House hearing earlier this month.

Tom Vilsack.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack during a hearing in March 2023. He will be back on Capitol Hill this week. Francis Chung/POLITICO

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is set to return to Capitol Hill this week as lawmakers show little sign of progress on a five-year farm bill.

Vilsack’s scheduled appearance at the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee is his second congressional hearing in the past two weeks, coming as the Biden administration defends climate-related spending at the Department of Agriculture and Congress struggles with the farm legislation and annual appropriations.

If the secretary’s appearance at the House Agriculture Committee earlier this month is any indication, Vilsack is likely to face questions about the USDA’s climate-smart conservation priorities and to defend the Democratic-written Inflation Reduction Act’s billions of dollars in related spending.
earlier this month


And depending on lawmakers’ progress on spending bills for the current fiscal year, Vilsack may deliver a message on his department’s preparations for a partial government shutdown March 1, including employee furloughs.