The long-delayed farm bill will stay delayed at least until next week when Congress returns to work in Washington D.C. The current hold-up appears to be surrounding dairy policy and a standoff between Ranking Member on the House Ag Committee Colin Peterson and Speaker of the House John Boehner. Can a compromise be reached before the end of the month? Congressman Rodney Davis, an Illinois Republican and farm bill conferee, feels a workable solution is emerging on dairy policy.
“After discussing the bill at Reagan National Airport as I was flying back to Illinois, Chairman Lucas was there with me, we talked some of the intracacies of the conference committee, some of the discussions he had. I do believe there is a tentative agreement and you’ll start to see details come out, on dairy. The commodity side, we’ve already come to an agreement. We already have a basic framework on SNAP. We have the basic framework on the energy title and all the other titles, so I think we’re going to be able to see a farm bill passed by the end of this month.”
Davis says the current farm bill draft has about 20-billion dollars in savings over the next 10-years. But South Dakota Senator John Thune has confirmed that Farm Bill conferees are going back to the drawing board on the dairy title. He says Speaker Boehner is opposed to the supply management component of the Dairy Security Act and will block a vote on the legislation if it contains the provision.
“The more recent information is maybe they’re going back to ground zero. One thing I know from speaking to Speaker Boehner is that he is adamant that we are not going to have supply management in this bill and I think there are a lot of members of Congress, Colin Peterson included, who have a different view of that.”
Thune says finding middle ground with the dairy program is difficult but he hopes the conference can reach a compromise.
“I just hope that the differences can continue to get narrowed to where we can actually put the dairy title to bed, because once we do that we’ve got a few little, thorny outstanding issues on payment limits and persons and entities, but I think we can get those resolved and get this thing across the finish line.”
And what kind of dairy compromise does American Farm Bureau want Congress to reach?
“At this stage what we’ll find acceptable is anything that will get the 5 year farm bill passed,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman.
Source: NAFB News Service