Lucas to File for Short-Term Farm Bill Extension
Even though the top farm bill negotiators have made progress and continue to have productive meetings - House Ag Chair Frank Lucas says there are still some outstanding issues they are addressing. Lucas is confident they will work through them and finish a farm bill in January - but not before then. Therefore - Lucas stated last night that he will file legislation to extend the current farm bill through January this week to allow the farm bill conferees to finish their work without the threat of permanent law implementation. He believes having this option on the table is the responsible thing to do in light of the tight deadline negotiators were given to complete a new farm bill this year. However - House Ag Ranking Member Collin Peterson considers the extension a bad idea - though Agri-Pulse reports he says he might vote for an extension if he thinks it will help get a vote at the end of the day.
The House is scheduled to recess for the year on Friday - and Lucas wants to give the Senate a way to extend the current extension - but Reuters has reported that Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow will not support any extension of the 2008 Farm Bill. Stabenow told reporters Tuesday that she won't let folks sneak in through the back door like they did last year and continue subsidies that everyone agrees should be eliminated. Stabenow said even a one-month extension through January could allow direct payments to continue for another year. She said that's unacceptable and won't pass the Senate. Stabenow urged the House leadership to keep the House in session next week so the farm bill can be finished by the end of the year - but Speaker John Boehner has been pushing for an extension - standing firm on his word that the House would adjourn Friday. Stabenow says there are a number of senators on both sides of the aisle who oppose continuing direct payments - even for a short amount of time.
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