Farm Bill Issues
David Rogers reported yesterday at Politico that, “Hopes of salvaging a long-term farm bill in this Congress are fading fast as Speaker John Boehner continues to resist including any such legislation in a year-end budget deal with President Barack Obama.
“Both the White House and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner have said savings promised from commodity subsidies could be part of a deficit reduction down payment this year. And as recently as last week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urged farm bill negotiators to work ‘24/7’ so they could be the ‘caboose’ on any legislative train leaving before New Year’s.
“But sources familiar with the deficit talks paint a very different picture: of the speaker digging in, saying he can’t include the farm bill in any package for fear of losing more Republican votes.”
Yesterday’s article indicated that, “‘We can’t drop a farm bill in the middle of whatever is negotiated. A 1,000-page bill on top of whatever is negotiated will just make our vote situation harder,’ a Boehner aide told POLITICO. ‘If we can agree on a top-line number, we suspect the committees will have a much easier time getting to a bill next year under regular order.’
“This rankles farm bill supporters, since it was Boehner who blocked the House Agriculture Committee from even bringing its five-year plan – which was 594 pages, not 1,000 — to the House floor before the election. And Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) is still rooting for a ‘Christmas miracle.’”