Without Nutrition Consensus, Lucas Wants to Move Forward with Conference
If the House can't reach agreement on a bill to reauthorize the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program before leaving for the August recess - House Agriculture Committee Chair Frank Lucas says the farm bill conference should proceed. When members left Washington Thursday - there were no apparent plans to take up a nutrition bill in the final days before the recess. Lucas has stated his personal goal is to move on conferencing with the Senate if it's clear consensus on nutrition can't be achieved. The nutrition working group established by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor did meet Wednesday - but did not reach conclusions on a path forward on a nutrition bill.
As for the House-passed farm-only farm bill - during a radio interview with National Association of Farm Broadcasting member Ron Hays - Lucas defended the provision to repeal current permanent laws and make the commodity title of the 2013 bill permanent law. Lucas said having good policy in place provides a real safety net moving forward. He said the lack of understanding of rural America and production agriculture has created a situation where you could end up with nothing. Lucas said he's trying to craft good policy that agriculture can live with not just for the next five years - but the next 10 or 15 years. He said he wants to use that as permanent law to protect agriculture from a day when Congress can't pass any farm legislation. At that point - he said it becomes a defensive battle - protecting what we have - not trying to scare people by using bad old policy. Lucas said his fear is that the idea would come about to simply repeal the 1938 and 1949 law - and then agriculture would have nothing.
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