WASHINGTON, D.C. (NAFB) – Key farm needs on everything from rural broadband and new locks to possible farm labor reforms are mired in the politics of two huge Biden infrastructure bills—one, brick and mortar, the other, social safety net.

Democrats are going for broke with two massive and highly politicized bills, one whose fate is tied up in an imminent procedural vote that could decide key rural spending on broadband, ports and locks.

Trouble is, the bill’s not ready, its “pay-fors” still in dispute. Yet Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is putting a “shell bill” up for a procedural vote.

But Republican vote-counters claim their side won’t provide enough votes to start debate on a bill that’s not ready and that Schumer wants to debate in pieces if the whole bill’s not ready by Thursday.

Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley…

Another Ag issue, farm labor reform, is wrapped up in the politics of a second, even larger, social infrastructure bill that could be passed with a simple majority of Democrats—a process known as reconciliation.

Referring to the seasonal farmworker visa program, Grassley wants to make year-round, without granting amnesty to hundreds of thousands of farmworkers here, illegally.

Amnesty sunk earlier farm labor reform efforts, and Grassley admits it could do so again—even if the Senate Parliamentarian agrees to allow immigration reform in the Biden social spending bill later this year.