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House, Senate move to markup farm bill

…there’s a good chance the [House] Ag Committee can reach consensus on the farm bill on May 15th.

While the official markup notice hasn’t been issued, House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas says the committee will markup the 2013 Farm Bill on May 15th.

He says they’ll start with a draft that is essentially the 2012 document with adjustments because entities like the Office of Management and Budget and Congressional Budget Office have rescored some of the expenditures and savings. But in the end, Lucas expects the Ag Committee members will stick to the principles they agreed upon last year when writing the farm bill.

Under the nutrition title, Lucas says the Committee will continue to focus on things like categorical eligibility and other loopholes. Instead of $16.5 billion in reforms as called for in the nutrition title of the Committee’s 2012 Farm Bill, he says this bill will contain about $20 billion in savings. Lucas says a substantial of conservation title savings will come from CRP. In the commodity title, he says the direct payment program is once again eliminated. Overall, Lucas expects the bill will save about 38-billion dollars. He believes there’s a good chance the Ag Committee can reach consensus on the farm bill on May 15th.

Meantime Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow announced April 25 that she too plans to markup a new farm bill in May, though she has not yet set a specific date. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated his intentions to bring it to the Senate floor next month as well. Stabenow wants to make sure a new farm bill is in place by September 30th – when the current extension of the 2008 law expires.

The Congressional Research Service has compiled an excellent comparison of current farm policy, the Senate’s 2012 farm bill, and the House Ag Committee-passed 2012 farm bill, which you can read or download by clicking here.