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by Greg Martin, click here for bio
Program: Line on Agriculture
Date: August 06, 12
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Not Enough. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.
Congress is heading home for the August recess with no farm bill and likely no drought relief bill - the result of a rift among House Republicans and with Democrats over spending. Election-year politics has drowned a farm bill - and possibly a one-year ag disaster relief bill - even amid a drought of epic proportions. House GOP Leaders refused to allow an expensive five-year bill on the floor - even one that renews livestock disaster aid, reforms subsidies and saves 35-billion dollars. Then - they tried - but failed - to secure ag support for a one-year farm bill extension with drought aid. Finally - fearing an August recess backlash from producers - they let a pure one-year drought bill come to the floor. It passed in a vote of 223 to 197 - with grudging support from some Democrats - like Ranking Ag Member Collin Peterson.
PETERSON: You know I’m going to support this bill. It’s better than nothing but it’s not what we should be doing and people need to understand this is not going to solve any problems for anybody over August other than political problem that they have where they can go home and can’t point to anything that got done so they’ll be able to say they voted for a bill but this bill is not going anyplace in the other body.
House Ag Chair Frank Lucas defended the bill as fixing a problem - expiration of livestock programs one-year early under the 2008 Farm Bill - arguing the bill pays for itself and cuts 250-million from the federal deficit. But Lucas agrees with critics who don’t like conservation cuts to offset the emergency bill’s cost - and more importantly - that the bill isn’t the full farm bill that provides long-term relief and certainty.
LUCAS: My priority remains to get a 5-year farm bill on the books and to put those policies into place but the most pressing business before us today is to provide disaster assistance to those producers impacted by drought conditions who are currently exposed. It is as simple as that.
And then - to Democrats, Republicans and GOP Leaders - keeping the farm bill off the House floor.
LUCAS: My friends on my side of the aisle will say we don’t cut enough while my friends on the other side of the aisle will say we cut too much. This is the perfect case of letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. I believe in the legislative process. I believe in letting the House work its will. We did it in the House Agriculture Committee and we can do it here, too.
Lucas vowed to renew his farm bill efforts in September - but is likely to continue to face a leadership even more focused on winning in November - and less on writing a farm bill with all its political risks.
That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network.
Recent Reports from Line on Agriculture
- 01/04/05 Reopening Canada, Part One
- 01/05/05 Reopening Canada, Part two
- 01/06/05 Reopening Canada, finale
- 01/13/05 Compensation precedent?, Part one
- 01/14/05 Compensation precedent, Part two
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