By now you’ve probably heard that the U.S. Senate Ag Committee passed their version of the 2012 Farm Bill from committee. During our latest lobbying visits in Washington, DC, farmer leaders in the Illinois Corn Growers Association had been told the Senate had targeted the end of April for such an action. ICGA told Senators and members of the House, alike, that getting a farm bill now is a top priority. The Senate delivered a bill before Memorial Day, as we hinted. But where’s the House on this issue?
It’s likely to be a heavy lift in the House of Representatives to get a House version of the Farm Bill done before the November election. At the farm level, you understand first hand why having the legislation crafted sooner, rather than later, is important. But step into the Beltway, and the timeline becomes blurred.
It may be necessary in the coming weeks to let your members of Congress know why this is important to you. Keep an eye on these daily updates and on your email from IL Corn to stay engaged on this issue.
Here’s a rundown of what happened in the Senate Ag Committee today:
- The Senate Ariculture Committee has passed 5-year farm by a vote of 16 to 5.
- Estimates are that the Senate bill will shave off $24.7 billion from the deficit.
- The four Senators from the South on the Committee, Sens. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., Thad Cochran, R-Miss., Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and John Boozman, R-Arkansas., voted against the legislation as did Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. who objected to the cuts in nutrition programs.
- Sen. Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, has indicated that he'll take up the measure soon.
- Southern Senators that voted “no” are reportedly unhappy with the cotton and rice provisions.
- Senator Gillibrand of New York reported voted “no” due to cuts to the SNAP (food stamp) program.