Ag Leaders Meet on Farm Bill, Disaster Aid
The leaders of the House and Senate Ag Committees met Tuesday night and agreed they should consult with the leadership of the full House and Senate regarding how to proceed on the farm bill and disaster aid. Ahead of the meeting - two publications learned that House Speaker John Boehner was considering bringing up an extension of current farm programs - including disaster aid funds - as early as next week or possibly in September. Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor have publicly said they haven't made a decision about bringing the farm bill to the floor. But farm leaders, Democrats and Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack have stressed that the need for disaster aid makes it crucial to quickly pass the farm bill. House Ag Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson says he is opposed to an extension of the current farm bill and will oppose it if it is offered.
For one thing - Peterson says an extension isn't needed for crop insurance or food stamps. He says they have authority to continue. He adds an extension of commodity programs isn't needed until next June. Further - Peterson says an extension would not extend certain conservation, fruit and vegetable programs that are expiring because there isn't money to pay for them. He says there's no money to pay for disaster aid either. If an attempt is made to add disaster aid to an extension - Peterson says lawmakers probably need to find 2.5-billion dollars to pay for it. What's more - Peterson told the Hagstrom Report that Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow and Ranking Member Pat Roberts have signaled it would be hard to move an extension through the Senate.
As for the farm bill approved by the House Agriculture Committee - Peterson told Boehner he estimates it would garner the votes of about 40 Democrats. He is under the impression more than that are needed to pass the bill.
© 2013 Rural Radio Network. All rights reserved. Republishing, rebroadcasting, rewriting, redistributing prohibited. Copyright Information