David Rogers reported yesterday at Politico that, “House Republicans took the first steps late Thursday toward a formal Farm Bill conference with the Senate, as the Rules Committee cleared the way for a floor vote Friday that would marry up the separate titles approved in July and then last week.
“The provisions are part of a larger ‘martial law’ rule approved 9-3 by the Rules panel and empowering the GOP leadership to move quickly over the weekend on debt and funding bills prior to the fiscal year ending Monday night.
“In this context, the farm language can seem a bit player in the furor over a threatened government shutdown and potential default. But it is a critical first step that Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) has been waiting for anxiously.”
Mr. Rogers pointed out that, “Even now [House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio)] has chosen such a convoluted approach that some fear it will take several weeks more before a farm bill conference can be up and running.
“There’s no chance of beginning before the current farm law — a one-year extension of the five-year program that already expired in 2012 — runs out Monday. And while the Senate has already appointed its conferees, it must repeat that process now — exposing Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) to more delays.”