Chairman Frank Lucas on a House Nutrition Deal- "Right Now, That Equation is Not There."Wed, 24 Jul 2013 13:10:07 CDT
"Right now, that equation is not there." Those are the words of the Chairman of the House Ag Committee, Congressman Frank Lucas of Oklahoma, with his explanation of where the House is on pulling together a deal on the left behind Nutrition title from the 2013 Farm Bill. Lucas told Farm Director Ron Hays in a Wednesday conversation that he will continue to work on finding 218 votes that will pledge to support a Nutrition title into next week, before turning his attention to working directly with the Senate Ag Committee leadership in attempting to crafting a Conference Report that can pass both the US House and the US Senate.
Lucas admits without specific language from the House on Nutrition that it will be difficult to push a winning deal across the finish line- but adds he is totally committed to getting a deal finished with Senator Stabenow- and that he is hopeful that those pushed for a thin slice of one policy or another within the farm bill- but then did not support the overriding bill have learned their lesson and will stand with him and other Conference Committee members in promoting passage of the final product.
Lucas also talked with Hays about the Commodity Title- what he wants and what he feels can be obtained in the negotiations with the Senate. Lucas continues to repeat his key objection-"it's not a federal farm bill if only certain areas or certain commodities can utlize the programs." He adds that "we can achieve that" but that there is no reason to move forward if not all regions and all crops can be a part of it.
He also discussed his intention to defend the last big pot of cash for non nutrition programs within the farm bill proposal- crop insurance.
Hays and Lucas also talked about why the Chairman promoted the idea of making the 2013 Farm Bill a replacement for the current permanent farm law that is based on measures first adopted in 1938 and 1949. Lucas said he is fearful that is one of the last farm bills that can passed through both bodies of Congress- so he tells Hays that it makes sense to him to set policy place that can be lived with longer than just the next five years. "I'm trying to craft good policy in a way that we can live with it for not just the next five years but for the ten or fifteen years. I want to use that as permanent law to protect us from a day when we cannot pass any farm legislation. At that point, it becomes a defensive battle protecting what we have- not trying to scare people by using the bad old policies from Franklin Rooselvelt and Harry Truman's time to force something to happen."
You can hear the full conversation between Hays and Lucas by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.
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