Home Indiana Agriculture News Deal to Avert Fiscal Cliff Unlikely to Include Farm Bill

Deal to Avert Fiscal Cliff Unlikely to Include Farm Bill


The leaders of the House Agriculture Committee are now saying they will have to work out a new five-year farm bill in 2013. They have conceded they likely won’t get a long-term extension of U.S. farm policy attached to a deal to avert tax increases and budget cuts – which means it will be back to the drawing board in late February. Speaking to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce this week – U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack urged Congress to get the farm bill done – while admitting he wasn’t very optimistic about the farm bill’s prospects. He said the reservations of House Speaker John Boehner had become a stumbling block. The Secretary’s message to the Speaker was that the farm bill could easily be linked to – and provide savings for – any fiscal cliff resolution.

Even without a full farm bill – pieces of farm policy could be attached to other legislation before the end of the year. House Ag Chair Frank Lucas had committee staff draft a buffet of legislation of short-term extensions for this type of situation. Ranking Member Collin Peterson – previously opposed to piecemeal extensions of the farm bill – now says he could back a short-term measure to revive expired conservation programs and to prevent a reversion to farm legislation passed in 1949.

In the Senate – lawmakers are looking to add funds for livestock producers devastated by the drought to a disaster relief bill for superstorm Sandy. Reid vowed Thursday that the supplemental spending bill would be passed or abandoned before the night was over. Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow is a co-sponsor of the amendment to provide livestock disaster assistance. She also expressed earlier in the week that she’s not giving up on the farm bill – noting Congress would be back next week.


Source: NAFB News Service