With the 2008 Farm Bill allowed to expire twice now – most recently this week – National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson is telling House Speaker John Boehner that he holds the fate of the farm bill in his hands. Johnson sent a letter urging the immediate naming of conferees to the farm bill conference committee. The U.S. Senate named its conferees for a second time Tuesday. Johnson’s letter says this is an opportunity for Boehner and the House to demonstrate that Congress is still able to get things done. With the budget and debt ceiling discussions looming – Johnson says the farm bill may be the very best opportunity for any major, forward-looking legislation to pass this year. He says the country’s family farmers, ranchers, fishermen, consumers and hungry citizens are depending on Boehner.
Group of Senators Don’t Want Direct Payments Extended if Farm Bill Extended
A group of 20 Senators has made it clear they will not support a farm bill extension that includes direct payments. The Senators – led by Missouri’s Claire McCaskill and Arizona’s Jeff Flake – wrote to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell last week to urge that any farm bill extension brought to the floor ensure the full and immediate elimination of direct payments. The Senators wrote that continuing direct payments would represent a costly regression in light of the Senate’s bipartisan effort to eliminate the multibillion dollar subsidy. The farm bills passed by the House and Senate this year would terminate the direct payments program.
Source: NAFB News Service