WASHINGTON, Jan. 23, 2013 – The House Agriculture Committee today held a meeting to formally organize the committee, adopt committee rules, and introduce new members.
“This is a new Congress and a new opportunity to reauthorize a five-year comprehensive farm bill,” said Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla. “It will take all of us working together to get it done.”
Both Lucas and ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., reiterated their agreement to wait until Congress settles the larger issues of the debt ceiling, the budget and sequestration before moving on a new farm bill.
“We’ll see if we emerge from the budget situation unscathed…[wait] until we know where we’re at,” Peterson told reporters after the meeting.
Lucas told reporters that the committee’s likely first order of business would involve reauthorization of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Meanwhile, two agriculture groups issued their support of the introduction Tuesday, by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., of the previously-passed Senate farm bill.
Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said today that he was pleased with Reid’s action.
“We are also encouraged to hear that Sen. Reid is making the farm bill one of several privileged, top priority legislative actions this year,” Stallman said in a statement. “This represents real hope for farms and ranchers that the Senate, like last session, will aggressively move forward on a long-term farm bill to give farmers the risk management certainty we need.”
Stallman said it will take bipartisan cooperation to “get the farm bill to the finish line.”
“We are confident the House Agriculture Committee will craft a compatible bill,” he said. “We are hopeful that Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and the committee’s new ranking member, Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., will work quickly to build on the bipartisan work that was the hallmark of the Senate farm bill last year.”
Jerry Kozak, president of the National Milk Producers Federation, said the action was “good news.”
“Reid’s decision to put the farm bill near the top of the list of things to do in 2013 is good news for America’s dairy farmers, who need leaders in the Senate and House to renew their push this year for a better farm bill,” Kozak said. “The bill’s Dairy Security Act will give farmers a better safety net while reducing taxpayer costs at a time when Congress is searching for ways to trim federal spending.”
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