We’re once again hearing talk of a possible government shutdown and one expert says the continued threat is toxic for ag businesses.
With the threat of a government shutdown once again looming, Speaker Mike Johnson faces pushback from his own party over a potential spending deal with Democrats. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Vice President of Government Affairs, Ethan Lane is watching the situation closely.
“To a certain extent, this is such uncharted territory to have a narrow majority, and a substantive group of people in your own party that basically aren’t willing to take yes for an answer. They find fault with any deal that’s struck,” he said. “What they really would like to see is a shutdown in some cases. They’re largely unconcerned with the economic impact to their own rural constituents in some instances that it could breed.”
Lane says the roller coaster of continued national budget instability is having a damaging effect on farm businesses.
“It’s always a strain. Just like market volatility has been a big story in the cattle industry over the last few months, political instability also is detrimental to the business environment. If you don’t know whether the government’s going to be open next week, it’s very difficult for you to plan your business and do all the things you need to do to be successful. So absolutely,” he said. “Instability. Volatility. Those are words that are always going to be toxic to a business environment, particularly a small business environment where they don’t necessarily have capital to weather long term shutdowns or massive market shocks.”
While Speaker Johnson has his work cut out for him just a few months into his new position, Lane says it would likely be the same struggle no matter who carried the title of Speaker. “Whether that’s Speaker Johnson, newly minted in that role or whether Kevin McCarthy were still the speaker, I think the same challenges persist in navigating this environment,” he said.
National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.
Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.