Reworked Farm Bill Most Likely
Longtime Ag Senator Chuck Grassley backs splitting the farm bill - a move House leaders are seriously considering - but predicts a reworked House bill is more likely. Grassley voted last year for a proposal then to split the Senate farm bill - it failed. Now - House GOP Leaders are serious about splitting nutrition from farm programs - after the House recently defeated its farm bill. Grassley says
Grassley: “Farmers have a bulls eye on their back because people don’t understand that 80 percent of the Farm Bill goes for food stamps. Everybody thinks the $90 billion is going into farmers pockets.”
But Grassley concedes - even without such a political bulls-eye - a separate farm program bill might come up short.
Grassley: “I’m not really convinced that we can pass separate bills. Pairing the two pieces goes way back to the 1960’s and it is kinda of a time-tested way to move forward and the most important thing is to get a bill passed to give farmers certainty.”
More than 530 ag, conservation, nutrition and other groups have urged House Speaker John Boehner in a letter to bring up the farm bill again - as one bill - this month. Otherwise they argue separate bills may not pass.
Grassley: “I think you are going to end up with a reworked Farm Bill in the House of Representatives and it will still be one bill.”
The question then would be whether the re-worked bill is more conservative to pick up Republicans - or less to pick up Democrats - and how likely a House-Senate compromise is to get back through each chamber.