As the week progressed, it appeared there was growing support for a one-year extension of the 2008 Farm Bill including disaster provisions for livestock producers.
House Republican leaders are readying a one-year extension of farm and nutrition programs that includes disaster aid for drought-affected farmers and ranchers, lawmakers said Thursday. The short-term extension is attracting bipartisan support and could reach the House floor next week, possibly Wednesday.
In his weekly press conference on Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) said he believed the House would address the livestock disaster situation before going home in August and a vote may come as early as Wednesday.
A spokeswoman for House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (Okla.) said, "There are a variety of considerations regarding the path forward for the Farm Bill. And, there's concern about the impact of the drought and the best way to address it, but no decisions have been made at present."
The Senate's version of the Farm Bill and the House Ag Committee's bill both include major livestock disaster programs and allows them to pay retroactively in 2012.
The move could have hindered chances of a five-year reauthorization but Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) indicated that, upon House passage, she will immediately seek to move the bill to conference committee, according to House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson (Minn.). It will then be up to the House to appoint conferees.
Such House action could enable Congress to conference the Farm Bill legislation between the House and Senate and pass a new Farm Bill before the current one expires on Sept. 30.