8 months, 3 weeks ago From Illinoisagconnection.com
Lawmakers were working on a plan over the weekend to complete the contentious farm bill in the House, with a final chamber vote as early as Wednesday. The $500 billion measure has stalled in Congress largely over the House and Senate disagreeing about cuts to its $80 billion food stamps program and developing new policies for the dairy title.
However, Fox News reported on Sunday that a compromise has purportedly been reached that calls for roughly $9 billion in cuts to food stamps over the next 10 years. The original Senate bill called for $4 billion. Last June, the House rejected a $20 billion cut as not being enough and could only approve a new plan with $40 billion in cuts.
Two sources with direct knowledge of the talks say they hope to file a final conference report Monday and vote in the House by Wednesday.
Other issues delaying the bill include how much milk the federal government should buy to artificially sustain prices and pay producers, the size of cages in which chickens are raised and the cap for direct payments to farm families.
Congress failing to finish the bill by the end of last year raised the possibility the country could revert to 1949 law, which some agricultural economists predicting would increase the price of milk to $8 a gallon.
The bill was supposed to be replaced in 2012, but Congress has instead passed a series of extension.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has now allowed the decades-old law to take effect, as Democrats and Republicans from both chambers continued to craft a plan behind closed doors.