Public session likely to hint at farm bill fate
WASHINGTON — House and Senate lawmakers responsible for writing a farm bill will gather publicly on Wednesday for the first time, a meeting expected to shed light on how quickly the conferees could strike a deal on the much-delayed legislation.
The 41 lawmakers are charged with merging farm bills passed this summer by the House and Senate into one piece of legislation, an arduous task highlighted by the $35 billion gap between the two sides on food stamp spending and the apparent reluctance of each side to budge from its position.
Top officials and staff from the Senate and House Agriculture Committees have met privately to work on a five-year farm bill, which includes crop insurance, subsidies, conservation, public nutrition and food aid programs. The conference, where lawmakers will make opening statements, could be the only gathering for the farm bill not held behind closed doors. By law, at least one meeting must be open to the public.
The five-year $500 billion farm bills being proposed by each chamber have a handful of differences on agriculture policy issues that need to be ironed out, but those who follow the process do not expect those to be a major hang-up that would impede passage of the legislation.
The provisions expected to be the most contentious focus on crop insurance. Unlike the House, the Senate bill mandates farmers who get crop insurance to meet certain environmental requirements. The Senate would require farmers with adjusted gross income greater than $750,000 a year to pay more for federally subsidized insurance. Both bills would end direct payments, doled out regardless of need, and increase the number of crop insurance programs available to farmers.
Lawmakers have to agree on timing. While the Senate bill has proposed extending both farm policy and food stamps for five years, the House would do farm policy for the same time, but only three years for nutrition. Agriculture groups fear that severing the two parts would lessen the urgency to pass a farm bill by siphoning off support from urban lawmakers.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- FBI, federal marshals join manhunt for survivalist accused of ambushing troopers
- Dog gone for 4 months found 3,000 miles from home
- Damage assessed from wildfire in Weed, Calif.
- Again, Arizona looks to plentiful rain
- ‘God’ made optional in Air Force oath
- Chinese hack defense contractors
- Flows from Hawaiian volcano being monitored
- S.C. man believed kids were going to kill him, warrant says
- Alaskans get dividend of nearly $1,900 from state’s oil wealth account
- 2 orbiters about to arrive at Mars to hunt for clues to climate change
- Artificial sweeteners possible contributors to diabetes, obesity