The failure of the 12-member congressional supercommittee to reach agreement on how to achieve $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction has stopped further “fast track” consideration of the 2012 farm bill.
House and Senate Agriculture Committee chairs, Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), have indicated that work on the new farm bill will now return to their respective committees for further discussion under a more deliberative process than was not possible under the time constraints imposed on the supercommittee.
“We understand this return to what some are calling ‘regular order’ for fashioning the farm bill will include a careful evaluation of the policy decisions reached under the ‘fast track’ process, including those titles and provisions that were simply reauthorized with no changes from current law,” explained Mary Kay Thatcher, American Farm Bureau Federation farm bill specialist. “However, both chairs have been careful to give no indication on timing or process, other than to assure all interested parties they will be evaluating the work done to date and determining how best to proceed.”
Regardless of whether discussions on farm programs return to current law as the starting point or begin from the “fast track” version, AFBF will be conducting expanded analyses on the Systemic Risk Reduction Program (SRRP) to provide a full, factual comparison with other proposals, such as those included in the language provided to the supercommittee. AFBF also will be working to ensure all its farm bill priorities are well-prepped and provided to the committees and their members well in advance of their decision process.