Independent voices from the TWT Communities
The House is expected to consider this week the reauthorization of the farm bill, a multiyear plan for the future of American farming. While much of the media coverage of the debate in the Senate centered on nutrition programs, an important battle is brewing in the House regarding dairy policy.
After punting last year on a farm bill, House Speaker John A. Boehner said Monday he will bring his chamber's 2013 version to the floor this month — a move sure to divide his fellow Republicans.
The top leaders in both parties on the House and Senate Agriculture committees have agreed to a one-year extension of the 2008 farm bill that expired in October, a move that would head off a possible doubling of milk prices next month.
A multiyear farm bill that has stalled in Congress could be part of a solution to avoid the looming "fiscal cliff" — if party leaders decide they need its spending cuts to count toward an overall deficit reduction package.
When Congress returns to work Tuesday for what is expected to be a hyperbusy lame-duck session, it will have more to worry about than just the looming "fiscal cliff," a series of automatic spending cuts and tax hikes scheduled to kick in at the end of the year.
Last year, farmer Marlin Stutzman collected $30,813 in direct federal subsidies for his Stuzman Farms in Indiana and southern Michigan.
As Congress bolts Washington this week for its pre-election recess, it will let lapse the massive federal farm bill, setting up a path for agricultural supports and subsidies to expire and return to a 1940s-era system — a scenario neither party nor the farm community is happy about.
Congress is poised to punt on yet another major legislative matter, as hope is drying up for a new farm bill ahead of an end-of-month deadline, increasing the likelihood the measure won't be done until after the November elections.
As the House Agriculture Committee debated amendments late into the night on the 2012 farm bill, a major victory was won for increased flood protection in a region of the country that few in Washington even knew was flooded last year. Most people outside of the Midwest do not know that the Missouri River swelled to 11 miles wide and swallowed up huge swaths of farmland and stretches of a major interstate during horrific flooding last summer.
The House Agriculture Committee refused to reverse any cuts to food stamps as it worked its way through a major new farm bill on Wednesday, rejecting two amendments to soften the cuts and accepting just a handful of other changes as lawmakers pushed ahead to prepare a bill for a full House vote.
Republicans and Democrats in Congress who congratulated themselves for passing relatively routine legislation before July 4 are returning to the Capitol for a summer stocked with political show votes and no serious role for bipartisanship.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Friday urged the Republican-led House to vote on a long-term farm policy bill, saying failure to act could leave livestock producers exposed to disasters and other farmers uncertain about the future.
The five-year farm bill, which cleared the Senate last week, could be headed for rough waters in the House with Republicans complaining that the upper chamber's bill favors Midwesterners' crops over Southerners' produce and saying a final compromise will need to have deeper cuts to the food-stamp and crop-insurance programs.
Promoting farm subsidies was once a no-brainer for rural members of Congress seeking re-election. This year, it's a bit trickier.
Jon Corzine will tell a House panel Thursday that he doesn't know the location of client money that went missing when MF Global failed. And he will argue that he inherited a firm doomed by the risks his predecessors took.