Farm Bill Extension Looking Likely
Washington--Last night, the House Rules Committee approved a bill to extend the 2008 farm bill until Jan. 31, 2014, by a vote of 9-3. The bill is expected to be debated on the House floor today or Friday. Farm Bureau continues to push for completing the farm bill quickly and has not taken a position on the extension bill.
The House will adjourn for the year this on Friday. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) has said his bill to extend the 2008 law is necessary to ensure there are no increases in retail dairy prices when those provisions expire Dec. 31 (much of the remainder of the bill expired in September). There is nothing "magical" about a Jan. 1 implementation date. The Agriculture Department has a significant amount of flexibility in when it implements permanent law. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has said numerous times that he does not intend to implement the permanent law provisions on Jan. 1.
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) do not support a one-month extension of the legislation, so it is not expected to come up for consideration in the Senate before adjournment on Dec. 20.