Five-Year Farm Bill Passage Biggest Issue Facing NCBAFri, 09 Aug 2013 18:06:49 CDT
The 2013 farm bill is still stalled in the House of Representatives and no action is currently being taken as Representatives are home for the summer recess. When Congress returns in September, there are only ten working days on their calendar to get a bill passed before the current extension expires at the end of the month. Kristina Butts, executive director of legislative affairs with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says getting a five-year farm bill done is by far the biggest issue currently before the NCBA. She spoke with Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays at the Cattle Industry Summer Conference in Denver.
“I’m happy to report that we’re the closest to getting a farm bill that we’ve ever been in three years, so that is positive news,” Butts said. “It’s been a rocky ride-lots of ups and downs along the way, but you guys in Oklahoma have a phenomenal chairman in Chairman Lucas and he’s really gone to bat for agriculture and to make sure that we’re doing whatever it takes to get a five-year farm bill authorized.
“So, before we left D.C. the last week of July, the Senate did name their conferees. So, they did take the first step forward in naming who’s going to be part of these negotiations as we move forward.
“We received information that the House does plan on considering a nutrition-only bill when they get back in September. The number that’s been buzzing around is about $40 billion in cuts. So, what we keep pushing is that we’re asking that staff members, while Congressmen are back home, start having those conversations to figure out where the differences are. That way when the members of Congress get back to town in September, they can sit down, work out the big differences and we can get that conference report passed by both bodies before the end of September.”
Following the failure of the comprehensive farm bill in June, Butts said that the nutrition-only bill will probably rely on Republican votes alone to get passed. She also said the gap between the Senate’s bill which calls for $4 billion dollars in savings in the nutrition title and the House’s version which calls for $40 billion dollars in savings is huge, but not insurmountable.
Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear Ron Hays's full conversation the Kristina Butts.
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