House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas says the Farm Bill conference will start as soon as both chambers of Congress are in town at the same time. Lucas is looking forward to the conference, telling The Hagstrom Report it’s taken him years to get to this point. But that doesn’t mean we can expect the conference to start next week. While the House is expected to be in session from Tuesday through Thursday next week, the Senate isn’t expected to return to Washington until October 28.
President Obama called on Congress to pass a Farm Bill. During remarks on Thursday, the President said, “We should pass a Farm Bill, one that American farmers and ranchers can depend on, one that protects vulnerable children and adults in times of need, one that gives rural communities opportunities to grow and the long-term certainty that they deserve. Again, the Senate’s already passed a solid bipartisan bill. It’s got support from Democrats and Republicans. It’s sitting in the House waiting for passage. If House Republicans have ideas that they think would improve the Farm Bill, let’s see them. Let’s negotiate. What are we waiting for? Let’s get this done.”
The House Ag Committee was quick to correct the President. In a statment released on Thursday the committee said, “The House adopted a motion to go to conference on Friday, October 11. The House named conferees to negotiate differences in the House and Senate-passed Farm Bills on Saturday, October 12. As reported in Politico, the four principals of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees met on Wednesday, October 16, to discuss the next steps in enacting a comprehensive Farm Bill this year. The first, formal conference meeting is expected when the House and Senate are in session together.”