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Published September 30, 2013, 03:44 PM

Farm Bill, government shutdown fight for congressional attention

With a government shutdown looming, if the house and senate are unable to strike a deal by midnight Monday, programs deemed non-essential will begin closing their doors.

By: Cynthia Johnson, WDAZ

With a government shutdown looming, if the house and senate are unable to strike a deal by midnight Monday, programs deemed non-essential will begin closing their doors.

With the shut down as the top priority in Washington, North Dakota lawmakers say the farm bill will not meet Monday night's midnight deadline. Representative Kevin Cramer says if there's a shut down Monday night it would probably last only a few hours to a couple of days at most.

Over the weekend, the House passed a rule that ties food stamps back to farm titles. House leaders say that creates a better chance for a bipartisan compromise with the Senate. Any time Congress is unable to pass a farm bill by the deadline, policy automatically reverts back to an agricultural spending package passed 64 years ago. If that happens Cramer says consumers will feel the impact come January, though he's optimistic there will be a new farm bill by October or November.

Tuesday is also a big day for health care -- the opening of market exchanges and enrollment starts for coverage under Obamacare.

The average monthly premium in North Dakota for the second-lowest cost tier, the silver plan, will be $350 and $281 for the lowest-cost option, the bronze plan. The silver plan covers 70 percent of projected medical costs for a typical consumer.

In North Dakota, an estimated 131,000 residents are eligible, while 1.2 million in Minnesota qualify. North Dakota opted to leave it to the federal government to create and operate the marketplace. Minnesota launched its own online marketplace, MNSure.

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