Despite Syria, Farm Bill May Pass Congress

Aaron Flint posted on September 10, 2013 12:29 :: 932 Views

Despite the focus on potential presidential attack plans in Syria, it appears a Farm Bill may be on the verge of passing Congress.  In fact, Agri-Pulse reports that the bill could come up as early as next week, while National Journal covers the one remaining sticking point.  

National Journal: Final Sticking Point in Farm Bill 

The House debate over whether to authorize President Obama to take action in Syria will overshadow other legislative work this week, but Congress will finish a new farm bill before the end of the year, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., predicted at a town-hall meeting last week that also indicated constituents are more concerned about Syria and other issues.

The nutrition issue, Lucas said, is a matter of how big a cut should be made to the food-stamp program. Ultimately that will be up to Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, he said. “If the crowd on high would agree, we could fill in the details in a matter of hours,” Lucas said.

The really tough remaining hurdle, he said, is the difference between the Senate and House bills on the commodity title. The Senate bill “puts 95 percent of their eggs” in the basket of “shallow loss” payments for losses not covered by crop insurance, while the House bill offers payments based on higher target prices for all crops. “Shallow-loss crop revenue is wonderful if you are in the Midwest,” Lucas said. “If you are not in the Midwest it is not so wonderful.… If [the farm bill] doesn’t apply to all regions it is not a federal bill.”

Agri-PulseFarm Bill Could See Action as Early as Next Week

(h/t The Heritage Foundation’s Heritage Hotsheet)

While lawmakers will largely be focused on Syria this week, agricultural stakeholders will continue the push for congressional approval of a five-year farm bill.

On tap in the House is a nutrition title bill that will likely seek to cut $40 billion over 10 years from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The House leadership has not yet released the legislative language, but have outlined the parameters.

Several sources have said the bill could come up as early as next week. After that, the next step would be to conference the House-passed farm bill and its nutrition legislation with the Senate-passed farm bill.

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