FARM BILL IN LAME DUCK
You’ve by now surely seen or heard the Illinois Corn Growers Association’s campaign encouraging a call to action among Illinois farmers regarding the farm bill. If you haven’t already, pick up the phone and dial 888-WHY-CORN (888-949-2676) and ask the U.S. House switchboard operator for your member of Congress. Tell them you need a Farm Bill Now during the Lame Duck.
It was reported this week that there remains a 50/50 chance of a Farm Bill passing during the Lame Duck. This is the surest way to save important tools (like crop insurance) from the budget cuts that will come with sequestration action. But you need to put the pressure on by making that phone call.
Here’s a round-up of political statements regarding the farm bill for your reference. Give it a read, then call 888-949-2676 and say you need a farm bill now.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow: “‘I’m very hopeful going back next week that we will be able to get the attention of the leadership in the House to get the farm bill done because we’re running out of time. As of the beginning of January, we have serious consequences that will start. Milk prices going up and other things.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R- Ag. Comm.), “One of two things has got to happen: Either a one-year extension of the existing farm bill, or a five-year. And it’d be a lot better to have a five-year farm bill.”
Sen. Tom Harkin (D- Ag. Comm.), “Harkin said the current lame-duck Congress should be able to pass a compromise farm bill without the deep cuts Republican House members have proposed to food stamps and other supplementary food programs.”
Rep. Bruce Braley (D)- “Braley said he hopes Congress will pass a five-year extension of the farm bill now that the election is over. House Speaker John Boehner didn’t allow the bill to be voted on before Tuesday, but Braley said he thinks a deal can now be completed.”
Rep. Steve King (R- Ag. Comm.)- “King said there is a ‘reasonable chance’ of passing a farm bill in the lame-duck session…‘There is nothing to be gained by waiting until after the first of the year because we don’t get much of a change in the configuration of the House or the Senate.’”
Rep. Tom Latham (R)- “There’s wide agreement on the ‘basic principles’ of the farm bill, Latham said, but disagreements persist on the level of funding for the food stamp program and a few other issues. With the political season now over, though, he expressed hope that those disagreements could be bridged.”
Rep. Dave Loebsack (D)- “He declined to say what he wants to see in the final version of the farm bill, but said it’s critical that House Speaker Boehner bring the bill to the floor for debate. He did say efficiencies could be found in supplementary food programs, such as food stamps, which make up a large portion of the USDA budget. Loebsack said success by Democrats and more moderate Republicans in the elections could also break the influence tea party members have had recently, particularly on issues like the farm bill.”
In addition, Rep. Reid Ribble (R., Wis. –Ag. Comm.) recently noted that, “ There are savings in the Farm Bill that will be needed to offset some of things requires to put sequestration aside, and my guess is they’re going to use some of the savings in the Farm Bill to get toward that end.”
Meanwhile, the AP reported on Saturday that, “A farm bill that stalled in Congress before the election could see quick action by the end of the year if congressional leaders decide they need its spending cuts — including a small reduction in the $80-billion-a-year food stamps program — to make a deal for averting the ‘fiscal cliff.’”