Lawmakers assess farm bill possibilities
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WASHINGTON, July 26, 2012 - With House GOP leaders floating the possibility of a one-year extension of the current farm bill and a package of disaster legislation, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said he has sent messages to House leadership, trying to convince them to move forward with a new five-year bill.
“Some suggest that we move a one-year extension of the existing bill. I don't think that's the best idea because I don't think we can pass it,” King told Agri-Pulse. “They say we can't pass the bill that came out of the House Ag Committee.
Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, said during a press conference this morning that he believes the House “will address the livestock disaster program that, in the last farm bill, was unfortunately only authorized for four years.”
“We will continue to work with Rep. Lucas and members of the committee on an appropriate path forward,” he added.
However, King believes that lawmakers are more likely to be able to pass the FARRM bill that came out of committee with a 35-11 margin, “even if we lose 70 votes in the Republican conference on the House Ag Committee Bill, we can still, I think pass the bill.”
“So I am suggesting bring it, let's pass it, lets get a conference going, I know the leadership is listening, a decision has not been made, but the pressure we put on in the next day or so will have a lot to do with the decision for next week,” King added.
“If we get into next week, it will be too late to make the decisions, it has got to be made this week or even over the weekend.
“I think my strategy is the best strategy right now, and that is bring the bill out, I think we can get 50 votes out of the democrats and if we lose 70 out of the republicans we can pass the bill.”
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., expressed her desire for urgency on the legislation after a hearing Wednesday morning. She indicated that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., “is absolutely backing me up.”
“I can't imagine that they're walking away from the only bipartisan deficit reduction proposal that has passed or will pass before this election,” Stabenow said regarding the House's delay. “We'll see what happens as we go forward. At this point I don't know what House leadership has decided.”
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