Skip to comments.Lawmakers seek truce with farm bill [but will conservatives make trouble?]
Posted on 10/20/2013 4:53:38 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
The $1 trillion farm bill will serve as the first test of how deeply the shutdown fight has damaged relations in Washington.
Congress has made the legislation its first order of business as it pivots away from the battles over government funding and the debt ceiling.
The leaders of the agriculture committees in Congress and K Street lobbyists are eager to put the finishing touches on the bill, which could get wrapped into a year-end budget deal that replaces automatic sequestration cuts.
But some fear Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who has vowed to complete the legislation, might be too wounded by the fiscal battle to finish the job.
The same conservative groups that thwarted Boehners plans during the shutdown fight including Heritage Action could be opposed to the farm bill if there is any compromise on food stamp cuts.
Supporters of the legislation also fear the raw relations between the White House and congressional Republicans will make bipartisan legislating difficult.
The renewed push for the farm bill didnt get off to an auspicious start
President Obama on Thursday named the farm subsidy and food stamp bill one of his top three near-term priorities, along with a budget deal and immigration reform.
But he erroneously accused the House of having failed to pass its version of the legislation, drawing a rebuke from the House Agriculture Committee.
As the committee pointed out, the House and Senate have appointed members to a conference committee on the farm bill, with a first formal meeting coming as early as Oct. 28. The committee is charged with reconciling the House farm bill, a separate House food stamp measure and a Senate farm bill that contains food stamp provisions.
House Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) met with Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) on Oct. 16 to plan for the negotiations.
House and Senate aides said no policy decisions were made at the meeting, and leaders are only starting to think about how the farm bill could get wrapped into a newly formed House-Senate budget conference committee, which hopes to reach a fiscal deal by Dec. 13.
Its clear that the rural lawmakers aim to be able to present a finished product to budget co-chairmen Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.).
I really think we are on a separate track, one aide said. There is momentum.
We want to be prepared and get it wrapped up as soon as possible for whatever comes, a Senate aide said.
For farm lobbyists, the budget conference presents both opportunity and danger.
The House farm bill cuts some $54 billion from the deficit over 10 years, while the Senate bill cuts $23 billion. The spending cuts could be used to offset a reversal of part of the $91 billion in sequestration cuts that have slashed the discretionary agency budgets this year.
One lobbyist was hopeful that a budget compromise could carry the farm bill to Obamas desk.
That could also be the saving grace. That is something we could attach it to, the lobbyist said. I dont think we can pass it as a standalone bill.
Another lobbyist expressed trepidation.
They could take a bite out of us one too many times, the lobbyist said.
Ryan in the past has called for greater cuts to farm subsidy programs that in either the House or Senate bills, sparking some concern in the agriculture community.
The House approach gets $40 billion in its cuts from the food stamp program and authorizes the program for just three years, while extending farm programs for five.
The Senate bill has $4 billion in cuts to food stamps and provides a full five-year authorization.
The huge difference in funding for food stamps is seen as the biggest hurdle for wrapping up the conference.
It is also unclear if conferees will try to resolve the other aspects of the bill clear the brush in the terms of one lobbyist and leave food stamps for last, or if the issue will hold up other matters as member seek to trade the issue for other policy victories.
Indeed, the House and Senate bills have major differences in the subsidy portion of the farm bills as well.
Sources say the biggest problem in the commodity title is the difference in how the House and Senate calculate target price subsides.
Rice, peanut and barley growers favor the House bill, while corn and soybean producers favor the Senate approach.
There is no happy medium between House and Senate, one K Street source said.
The basic difference is that the House uses planted acres to calculate payments, while the Senate uses base acres.
Opponents of the House approach say it distorts the planting decisions and could invite a World Trade Organization case. Supporters say that the WTO threat is overblown and cite a University of Missouri report this month that projects little if any distortion in the market.
A second major issue is the fact the House bill makes the 2013 farm bill the default permanent law. Agriculture groups, including the powerful American Farm Bureau, oppose that move.
Currently, if a farm bill is not passed every five years, the 1949 farm bill automatically takes effect. In practice, this generally forces Congress to update and revise farm programs.
Other big differences include means testing for crop insurance in the Senate bill and a House provision that prevent states from banning the sale of products based on means of production a measure aimed at state bans on eggs produced by hens kept in battery cages.
One can just imagine what a few day “glitch” in food stamps would do.
This battle is already over.
Really? Then go away....
I look in my crystal ball, see a curtailment of food stamps and signs..... Burn Baby burn.
To end the stranglehold, cities must burn and the populations displaced. The obsolete cities are the root cause of American decline
That's what Pol Pot did.
You think Mitch and the boys are going to do anything? Boehner?
Here you go, the commies are already setting the stage.
“That’s what Pol Pot did.”
And Pol Pot sent the cities populations (the ones not murdered for prior government affiliation) into the country to farm. The only problem is they did not know farming, the land was unsuitable for agriculture, they had no tools - they starved.
Typical socialist planning.
The Pol Pot group must have helped plan obamacare.
There are many farmers just as liberal and dependent on the federal gravy train as any urban breeding queen.
Run forest, run.
Head for cover, not into battle, because it's already over.
Stay out of my foxhole or you'll probably get fragged.
I doubt this bill will get much fight from the GOP. You go ahead and think what you will. I wish this could be done, but based on what has happened lately, the GOP will mostly give up on this.
The GOP will say they do not want to jeopardize the other upcoming battles at this time. I am not saying this is right, but this is what we see happening.
Those dogs in the GOP, with the exception of a handful, have no fight in them and the rest are corrupted by special interests. They are in suspended animation.
“some fear Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who has vowed to complete the legislation, might be too wounded by the fiscal battle to “ force a big spending bill through the House.
No, he’s too weak to support the intelligent reforms that will help everyone.
Instead he’ll have to back a Senate bill written by campaign donors and backed by the media that gets 10% of the food stamp money in advertising costs.
Yes, about 10% of food stamp money goes to TV networks, newspapers, Google, etc.
Farmers in general are doing OK. They donn’t need subsidies:
This monstrosiity goes way back to the socialism of th FDR
days. Let the market decide what crops to grow: supply and demand!
Especially if they're growing alcohol.
The biggest supporters of Free Trade...notably US Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable....are the biggest supporters of taxpayer funded farm subsidies. You will find many weak GOPe wimp out and pass Farm Bill