Congress Aims for May Farm Bill Markup
The official markup notice hasn't been issued - but House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas says the committee will markup the 2013 Farm Bill on May 15th. He says they'll start with a draft that is essentially the 2012 document with adjustments because entities like the Office of Management and Budget and Congressional Budget Office have rescored some of the expenditures and savings. But in the end - he expects the Ag Committee members will stick to the principles they agreed upon last year when writing the farm bill. Lucas says there will be choice, savings and a safety net for all crops in all regions.
In the area of nutrition - Lucas says the Committee will continue to focus on things like categorical eligibility and other loopholes. Instead of 16.5-billion dollars in reforms as called for in the nutrition title of the Committee's 2012 Farm Bill - he says this bill will contain about 20-billion in savings. Lucas says a substantial of conservation title savings will come from CRP. In the commodity title - he says the direct payment program is once again eliminated. Overall - Lucas expects the bill will save about 38-billion dollars.
Lucas believes there's a good chance the Ag Committee can reach consensus on the farm bill on May 15th.
Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow announced Thursday that she - too - plans to markup a new farm bill next month - though she has not set a specific date yet. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated his intentions to bring it to the Senate floor next month as well. Stabenow wants to make sure a new farm bill is in place by September 30th - when the current extension of the 2008 law expires.
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