Health Care Could Hold Up Farm Bill

An American Farm Bureau official says House GOP leaders’ plan to bring up another health care repeal bill right after the July 4th holiday recess will not help the farm bill – and could even mean a lame duck farm bill. AFBF Deputy Director Dale Moore says the key now to the farm bill’s success – especially with health care repeal again front and center – is getting a bill written in the House Ag Committee…

“We know that the timing is going to be tough to get on the floor, but we know that one of the key things is getting the bill done in committee, that makes it easier to make a case to leadership.”
 

House Ag Chair Frank Lucas has vowed to do a committee farm bill and may release his proposal late this week – but confronted with the political fallout from last week’s Supreme Court health care ruling – acknowledged the changed floor situation. But Moore says the committee’s work could also be slowed in committee over the key issue of nutrition cuts…
 

“Not so much the policy, but simply the numbers. I would anticipate a rougher debate over nutrition.”
 

And one that if carried over the House floor will make it harder for Lucas and Top Ag Democrat Collin Peterson to convince leadership to make floor time…
 

“We have some big budget numbers, ones particularly relevant to nutrition that could raise the spectrum of a lot of amendments coming in from the non-ag, non-rural side of congress, that will be the challenge.”
 

Moore says the GOP could have a tough time figuring out just how the votes will land on numerous food stamp and other nutrition amendments. Tougher still – Moore admits – could be reaching a House-Senate compromise bill by September 30th when the current law expires…
 

“If the clock is fixed on September 30th, then yes, it will be nearly impossible.”
 

Leading to a likely short-term extension of current law and – Moore says – floor action on a farm bill in a Lame Duck Congress after November 6th.

 


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