House Ag Committee Chair Lucas Defends One Year Extension as Transition to Full Five Year Plan- With Drought Help for Livestock ProducersSat, 28 Jul 2012 20:33:36 CDT
House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas says that the just unveiled one year extension of current farm law will likely be considered by the Full US House of Representatives on Wednesday, under what he has asked to be a closed rule, with limited debate. Lucas says that the bill would offer certainty to all crop producers for the 2013 crop growing season, including winter wheat producers who are now just weeks away from putting their next crop in the ground. The one change is that the Livestock Disaster program that was a part of the first four years of the 2008 farm law would be reestablished for both 2012 and 2013- offering livestock producers at least a minimal disaster payment this year- Lucas saying that under the bill that Collin Peterson helped craft in 2008- livestock disaster assistance was one of several programs that only were funded for four of the five years of the life of the bill- and that now- "livestock producers have got nothing" when it comes to any help for this broad based drought.
The Roger Mills County, Oklahoma rancher acknowledged that there is a lot of talk about taking this one year extension and going to conference with the Senate to work out a five year farm bill- possibly avoiding a floor debate altogether in the US House- he declined to say anything on the record about the chances to actually do that but added that there is work still being done on exactly how the bill to be considered by the full House on Wednesday will read- and that could determine if this measure might prove to be "conferenceable" after House passage. Other reports over the last two or three days has indicated that top Democrat on the Committee, Collin Peterson, wants assurances that they would be able to bring this bill to conference before he will vote for it- and try to bring a few Democrats along with him.
This past Thursday- David Rogers reported at Politico.com that, “The top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee signaled Thursday that he would support a Republican-backed one-year extension of the current farm law if it could be used as a vehicle to negotiate a larger comprehensive deal with the Senate. “'That seems to be gaining some ground on the Republican side right now,’ Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) told POLITICO. ‘That I would drop my opposition as long as this got us into conference on the big bill.'"
The actual rule that this bill will go to the floor under has yet to be decided- that will occur on Tuesday, according to Lucas. He indicates he has asked for no amendments to be allowed, a limited time for debate and a straight up or down vote.
The bill- as of yet- does not have a number- click here to read the full 48 page extension.
Lucas contends that whether this bill actually proves to be judged by staff lawyers in the House and Senate Ag Committees as one that can be transformed into anything more than a one year extension or not- it would give both sides valuable time to transition to the major changes proposed in both the Senate and House Ag Committee versions- and provide certainty for both farm programs for one more year as well as the disaster assistance for the livestock producers of the country.
Conservation interests have raised red flags over cutting conservation programs in the one year extension- but Chairman Lucas says that money was being taken from those areas that basically has not been allocated by the appropriators in previous years- so there is little to no harm to programs like EQIP.
On Friday- House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, in his email called "The Leader's Weekly Schedule," did have this measure listed as being one to be considered on Wednesday or later this coming week.
Farm Director Ron Hays caught up with Chairman Lucas at a GOP event in central Oklahoma on Saturday afternoon- you can hear their "for the record" conversation by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.
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