A September farm bill in time to replace expiring law appears less likely as the House-Senate conference committee resumes negotiations next week, the final week of the month. Committee member Iowa Senator Joni Ernst indicates there are some issues working out differences in areas like farm subsidies, conservation support, and food stamp work requirements. But the new CEO of the National Corn Growers Association, Jon Doggett says an on-time farm bill is needed this month.
“We are very, very concerned about the seeming inability for the congress to get a farm bill done before the end of the month,” Doggett said. “It’s important. The current farm bill expires then and there will be certain programs that lose their budget baseline, and that’s a big problem, particularly for the FMD program which funds a lot of trade promotion overseas. We need to move a lot of corn overseas, so we’re very concerned. There’s no reason for us to not have a farm bill done by the expiration date. This is just another example of the congress being unable to do the business of the people.”
The conference committee has only four days next week coming out of the current recess. But, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says that talking about a current farm bill extension now is not a good idea.
“No, they wouldn’t dare talk about that,” he said. “That would slow down negotiations at this point. I’d say they would start talking about that the middle of October.”
But that’s two weeks after current law expires, during which only mandatory spending, like farm payments and food stamps, would continue. The very frustrated Doggett from NCGA suggests House negotiators are unwilling to compromise on their tougher SNAP work requirements.
Ernst is calling for “reasonable compromises,” and Chairman Pat Roberts stresses the need for “certainty and predictability” amid years of low crop prices and an escalating tariff war with China.
Source: NAFB News