Some are confident a bill can be finalized before the next Congress
By Diego Flammini
With about two months until the Democrats take control of the House of Representatives, legislators from both political parties are working towards a new Farm Bill.
“Right now the negotiators, including (Democratic) Senator (Debbie) Stabenow, are very close to reaching an agreement,” Jess McCarron, Stabenow’s press secretary, told the Huron Daily Tribune.
News of a potential new bill is exciting to farmers, who rely on program funding to remain competitive.
And passing a new bill is better than just extending the 2014 bill, said Curt Mether, president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association.
“It would be such a relief if they can just get the bill done,” he told Farms.com. “We need a new bill because some of our funding for export programs would get dropped with an extension, and we need exports more than ever.
“Even though we’re not doing much business with China, the rest of the world has become so important for exports that we need that program funding to remain.”
People often refer to the time between a change in the House as a lame duck session.
And some Republicans feel Democrats are stalling in order to finish the Farm Bill once they assume control of the House.
“The negotiators are working diligently, but the House Democrats are delaying in order to push the House version into the next congress,” Ralph Abraham, a Republican representative from Louisiana, told KPEL yesterday.
“We can ram this through, and I think that’s what we’ve got to do at this time, because we know that the alternative is not going to be good for the Louisiana farmer, the American farmer, in my opinion, not for anybody.”
The Farm Bill Conference Committee failed to reach an agreement on a new bill before Sept. 30 and allowed the 2014 Farm Bill to expire.
Work requirements related to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), had been the largest hurdle between the two sides. Republicans want to implement work requirements on the program, whereas Democrats oppose them.