Super Committee failure halts farm bill progress - The Packer

Super Committee failure halts farm bill progress

11/21/2011 04:46:00 PM
Tom Karst

The fast track to the 2012 farm bill has ended with a stop sign.

Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, and Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said in a joint statement Nov. 21 that the failure of the Joint Select Committee to reach a deal on an overall deficit reduction package also has ended the effort to produce an accelerated farm bill.

The co-chairs of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash, released a statement Nov. 21 that said the committee was unable to come to a bipartisan agreement on how to cut the deficit.

That ended work on a fast-track farm bill.

“House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders developed a bipartisan, bicameral proposal for the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction that would save $23 billion,” the lawmakers said.

However, because the so-called Super Committee did not produce an overall deficit reduction package, the House and Senate agriculture leaders said they have abandoned immediate work on the farm bill. Lucas and Stabenow did not release the legislative language of what they developed, though the Environmental Working Group published a summary.

“We will continue the process of reauthorizing the farm bill in the coming months, and will do so with the same bipartisan spirit that has historically defined the work of our committees,” according to the statement.

The current farm bill expires at the end of September 2012.

Agriculture committee leadership did accomplish something despite the failure of the Super Committee, said Tom Stenzel, president of the Washington D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association.

“I think that the only real good news is that you did see this bipartisan effort, a building of the relationship between Chairman Lucas and Chairman Stabenow,” he said. “For specialty crops, we felt like we had a very good title put in place.”

That will become the basis for developing the farm bill next year, Stenzel said.

“A lot of progress was made with this initiative,” he said. “I think you have basically found the framework for agreement and that framework we are going to work very hard to hold on to.”

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Jackie Schmidts    
Lake Placid, NY  |  November, 22, 2011 at 08:07 AM

Only in government can they say they made progress when nothing was finished or compoleted. The fact is that a 2012 Farm Bill was going to be decided by two people in a back room. This is not the way good agriculture policy should be created. I'm glad to see the process fail from that respect. It was the rock or the hard place. Now our country is put in even a more fragile economic state. Pres. Obama is not a leader and should be replaced by someone with better economic sense, leadership ability and understanding of what it takes to keep our country strong!

M. Mitchell    
CA  |  November, 22, 2011 at 10:34 AM

Now, we'll have the chance to deal with these BLOATED budgets. U.S. companies are doing well because they have streamlined their operations and have gotten real with their production numbers. If our government had to produce something for profit, they wouldn't be able to do it. Most of the problem is because the Congress has 2 CEO's with different visions for their company.

M. Davis    
Montreal, Canada  |  November, 28, 2011 at 08:39 PM

I guess they bring something out at Xmas when people are too busy to notice. I wonder what they meant by "specialty crops". Do doubt GMO crops that makes Big Bucks for Corporations but that the people don't want.

Pamela Stefanek    
Vermont  |  December, 06, 2011 at 12:10 PM

Thanks, Tom Karst, for this news. Appreciate the updates so we in the field aren't the very last to know. Sounds like good work is being accomplished on the 2012 Farm Bill.

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