Leadership of the farm bill conference committee reports a deal is close, with a possible announcement this week and a more detailed announcement to follow next week, according to staffers close to the negotiations.
Senate Ag Committee Chairman Pat Roberts says a full agreement depends on the cost analysis. There is little time in the lame duck session to complete the bill, as lawmakers are scheduled to exit Washington by mid-December. Still, all sides appear committed to finishing the bill this year, ahead of a new Congress that offers a change of control in the House of Representatives. Collin Peterson, incoming chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, has previously said he wants the bill done now, before the next Congress, which would likely require a rewrite of the legislation.
A move towards an agreement would set the stage to allow Congress to consider final passage of the bill this year.