House, Senate may be on different farm bill clocks

Matt Kaye | Berns Bureau Washington

House Ag Chair GT Thompson said on Agri-Pulse’s “Open Mike” recently, his goal is to act on farm bill text in early September after receiving USDA and Congressional Budget Office data on scarce dollars available.

“And then soon after that, have that on the House floor, I can’t control the Senate,” Thompson said.

Senior Ag Senator Chuck Grassley spoke with Chair Debbie Stabenow who’s less certain about making the farm bill deadline.

“She thought we might not get the bill done by September 30, which is the deadline, but we would get it done by the end of the year,” Grassley said.

But if Stabenow’s wrong, Grassley sees the need to extend the 2018 farm bill by one year.

“When you get into 2024, farmers are going to have to know what the farm program is,” Grassley added.

Both chambers face controversial issues as they race against the clock.

“Should preference prices be increased, how much are we going to spend on food stamps, how are you going to handle CRP? Those are the things that I think would be tough to be writing things until you have members sitting down with each other and discussing them,” Grassley said.

And given the slower pace of the Senate and the fight for floor time, especially this year for appropriations bills, a year-end farm bill seems realistic.

Separately, the Senate this week is expected to confirm Xochitl Torres Small as the next USDA Deputy Secretary.

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