(NAFB)--Speaking to the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives Wednesday - House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas said he expects the farm bill to come up on the House floor next week.
He expressed his hope that around Monday the Rules Committee would put out a call for amendments - which he expects hundreds of. Then on Tuesday - Lucas hopes the Rules Committee will sort through the amendments, realize redundancy isn’t a good use of time and limit the number of amendments on each subject. Lucas is looking for an open but orderly process - and believes the House will likely vote on 30 to 40 amendments covering every area - including food stamps, sugar, dairy, conservation and crop insurance. Once the House achieves consensus on the farm bill - Lucas isn’t sure what the measure will look like. He said it will be a document that brings the farm bill to conference. Once the conference report comes to the House and Senate - it will not be subject to amendment. There will be up or down votes with a majority in each body required for passage.
House Speaker John Boehner has expressed his opposition to the Dairy Security Act written by Ag Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson and included in the committee’s bill. But Boehner reportedly said Wednesday he will support the farm bill. Without a new bill - he said there would be no changes in the farm program or nutrition program. Boehner made his statement following a House Republican Conference where Lucas was to explain the importance of the farm bill to all Republican members of the House.
But at a National Milk Producers Federation reception on Tuesday - Peterson said that the dairy issue isn’t the only hurdle to passage of the farm bill. He said he feels somewhat optimistic - but explained it’s not a sure thing they’ll have enough votes to pass the bill.