Congressional Leaders Agree on Time Frame for Farm Bill Action

Posted on: September 21st, 2012 by NADO Admin

The current farm bill law (P.L. 110-246) governing the nation’s farm and food aid policy will now expire at the end of this month, as congressional leaders decide to postpone a fight over how to reauthorize those programs until after the November elections.  This will be the second time since 1973 that a farm bill will have expired.

Although both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) publically stated this week that their chambers will act on the stalled legislation when Congress returns in November, neither leader provided details on how they intend to negotiate a final farm bill during a lame-duck session. Leader Reid said he would push the House for a five-year farm bill, while Speaker Boehner said the House would consider a multi-year measure or even an extension of the current law.

When they revisit the matter in November, negotiations will not be easy. The Senate passed a five-year farm bill (S. 3240) in June that would save $23 billion over 10 years while the House Agriculture Committee approved a five-year bill (H.R. 6083) in July that would save $35 billion over 10 years. House Republican leaders have not allowed floor consideration of the measure over disagreements among GOP members over the level of proposed reductions to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The House bill proposes $16 billion in cuts to the program over 10 years, while the Senate bill proposes $4.5 billion in cuts.  While House conservatives want much deeper reductions, most House Democrats do not support any cuts to the program and would be unlikely to provide GOP leaders the votes they need to offset lost Republican votes.

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