January 18, 2020

Farm Bill; Budget (Estate Tax); and, the Ag Economy

Farm Bill

Philip Brasher reported on Friday at Roll Call Online that, “A deal to avert the fiscal cliff could pave the way for the new Congress to pass a farm bill next year, House Agriculture Chairman Frank D. Lucas says.

“In an interview Thursday with an Oklahoma radio station [transcript], Lucas gave two options for dealing with the farm bill as part of a tax increase and spending cuts deal between the White House and Congress. One would be to drop a new farm bill into the fiscal package, which could still be a long shot given the challenges of marrying the House and Senate versions with only three weeks left in the lame duck.”

Mr. Brasher explained that, “The second option, and the one on which the Oklahoma Republican notably went into some detail, would call for writing provisions into the fiscal package to extend the expired 2008 farm law into 2013 and set a target for budget savings that the new bill would have to achieve. The new bill could then be finished next spring in expedited fashion as part of a broader budget reconciliation process needed to implement the cuts and revenue increases that would be called for in a fiscal agreement.

“A reconciliation bill goes to the floor for an up-or-down vote, with little opportunity for amendment. That could protect the farm bill on the House floor from the inevitable attacks on commodity price supports.”

Also note that an interview with Chairman Lucas is featured on this week’s Agri-Pulse “Open Mic” program.

An Agri-Pulse summary of that interview, which can be heard here, indicated that, “Oklahoma Republican Frank Lucas joins us again on Agri-Pulse Open Mic to discuss the current state of the farm bill negotiations and how the savings from reforms advanced by his committee could become part of the so-called fiscal cliff negotiations as a down payment on the nations debt, either this year or next. But Lucas, who was elected last week for a second term as House Agriculture Committee Chairman says much depends on ongoing negotiations between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner.”