WASHINGTON, April 13 – The House Agriculture Committee scheduled a vote for April 18 on a package of policy changes to current U.S. farm law to satisfy its reconciliation directive under the House-passed FY2013 budget resolution, Agri-Pulse has learned.

An official announcement is expected later today.

Agriculture is one of six authorizing committees instructed to modify policies and programs under their jurisdictions to produce savings totaling $18 billion in 2013 and $261 billion over ten years. 

The Ag Committee is required to reduce farm bill spending to the tune of $8.2 billion next year and $33.2 billion over a decade.

Chairman Frank Lucas has not indicated which programs will be cut, but it is widely anticipated the bulk of the savings will come from the Nutrition Title.

The Senate is not expected to pass a 2013 budget this year, meaning the reduction in the Farm Bill budget baseline ordered by the GOP-controlled House has little chance of becoming law.

Still, Ag Committee Democrats are not looking forward to next week’s vote. 

“I assume they’re going to try to take it out of food stamps and that’ll set off people on our side, which is not helpful,” Ranking Member Collin Peterson told Agri-Pulse.

He worries that the reconciliation vote will make it more difficult for the committee to markup a new farm bill that can win broad bi-partisan support.

That is on Lucas’ mind, too.

“It’s a process that we’re going to have to go through, and once this is done and we begin to focus again on the next farm bill the question is, will we still have the ability to work together across the aisle and across region?” he said recently on Agri-Pulse Open Mic.  “So yeah, I’ve got a little lifting to do.”


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