It’s highly unlikely that Congress and President Obama will come up with a fiscal cliff bill to deal with the national deficit – and even more unlikely a farm bill will be included. However – House Ag Ranking Member Collin Peterson says he is not worried about a bill being passed before next year. With a failed plan by Speaker of the House John Boehner last week – there’s no clear plan for the Senate and President Obama. The House has already adjourned – but Senators will return to Capitol Hill on Thursday – leaving four work days before the end of the year – and the end of the 112th Congress. If the House is needed back – Boehner says he will reconvene – but the House Ag and Senate Ag-passed farm bills will die in less than a week without any action – and that brings even more problems.
Without a new farm bill or an extension of the current law – ag policy will revert back to 1949 policy – which would raise milk prices significantly. Based on that fact – Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow says a fiscal cliff deal needs to be passed with a farm bill attached. Peterson objects to the term going over the cliff because if everything expires – he says nothing dramatic happens. Taxpayers’ withholding will increase a bit – according to Peterson – but the sequestration cuts don’t immediately go into effect. Even though the U.S. Department of Agriculture has to implement 1949 law on January 1st without a new or extended bill – Peterson notes some economists have said it shouldn’t affect dairy prices until May or June.
Source: NAFB News Service