House Floor Action Expected on Farm Bill Next Month
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas was proud of the Committee's effort to advance a farm bill with significant savings and reforms. Ranking Member Collin Peterson was also pleased with the Committee's ability to work together, find some common ground and advance a five-year farm bill. He says the process has gone on far too long and it's past time to get the bill done. Lucas says he has been assured that House Republican leaders will bring the bill to the floor in June. Peterson is optimistic the farm bill will continue through regular order and be brought to the House floor in June. If things stay on track - he suggests the House should be able to conference with the Senate in July and have a new five-year farm bill in place before the August recess.
Lucas and Ranking Member Collin Peterson told reporters Wednesday night they believe the committee has written a balanced bill that can win passage on the House floor. While Peterson isn't sure how many Democrats will vote for the bill - he's confident he and Lucas can deliver the votes for passage. Lucas said the extreme members on both ends of the political spectrum won't vote for the measure. The men agree the bill's prospects could depend on the kind of rule it receives for debate. Due to the technical nature of the bill - Lucas said there needs to be a prefiling requirement for amendments. Peterson said there should be a modified closed rule as there was in 2008.
According to the news release from the Chairman's office - highlights of the measure include:
FARRM saves nearly $40 billion in mandatory funds, including the immediate sequestration of $6 billion.
FARRM repeals or consolidates more than 100 programs.
FARRM eliminates direct payments, which farmers received regardless of market conditions.
FARRM streamlines and reforms commodity policy while also giving producers a choice in how best to manage risk.
FARRM includes the first reforms to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) since the Welfare Reform Act of 1996, saving more than $20 billion.
FARRM consolidates 23 conservation programs into 13, improving program delivery to producers and saving more than $6 billion.
FARRM builds on previous investments to fruit and vegetable production, farmers markets, and local food systems.
FARRM includes several regulatory relief measures to help mitigate burdens farmers, ranchers, and rural communities face.
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