Lucas stays hopeful about farm bill framework
By Derrick Cain
© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.
WASHINGTON, Jan. 8, 2014 - While a farm bill conference has still not been scheduled, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., said Wednesday it remains possible that a framework for a five-year bill could emerge this week.
“I want it so bad, you don't understand,” Lucas told reporters after a floor vote. “As I've said before, it shouldn't be this hard.”
Lucas and the other top three conferees - Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member Thad Cochran, R-Miss., and House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn. - met for about a half-hour Wednesday. Details of the meeting were not offered.
“The four principals have been meeting on a regular process and today was a continuation of those discussions,” Lucas said. Lucas would not comment on any future meetings.
The chairman said “lots of discussion” continues on how to address dairy policy, but said a final deal has not been reached. Further, he said a provision involving interstate commerce, from Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, remains “in the mix.” “It's an issue of regulatory relief that is important to a number of members,” Lucas said.
Conferees could face an amendment stripping out the language which seeks to prohibit states from enacting laws that place conditions on the means of production for agricultural goods that are sold within its own borders, but are produced in other states.
Still, Lucas noted that an itinerary for the conference has not been put together.
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