Farm Bill Extension?


The US House is expected to take up its version of a new farm bill during the lame duck session. But, as Steve Roisum reports, its unclear what form it will take.

Congress has its hands full dealing with the so-called “fiscal cliff.” Even so, an influential member of the House Agriculture Committee expects lawmakers to pass a one year extension of the last Farm Bill which expired in September. Wisconsin Congressman Reid Ribble says passing a full five year farm bill could be tough, “Let’s just say if it follows the path of the highway bill, you would have 300 or 400 amendments debated, you’d have hours and hours of debate time and after that it would have to go to a conference the House and Senate would have to pull it together like some bi-cameral agreement.”

Difficulty aside, Ribble says Congress should try to pass a five year farm bill in the lame duck. So does Wisconsin Farmers Union Government Relations Director Kara Slaughter. She says the House can easily pass their version by the end of the session, “Both of those proposals offer millions of dollars in savings to the U.S. Taxpayer. Both of those proposals eliminate outdated programs like direct payments and improve programs farmers need like crop insurance. We have all the ideas we need on the table and every financial incentive to move onto a 2012 Farm Bill.”

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Republican leaders in the House blocked efforts to put a new Farm Bill up for a full vote before the previous bill expired. A disagreement over food stamp funding was largely to blame.