Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow said she will proceed with a new Farm Bill and not wait for the House Agriculture Committee to act first.
She indicated, while she has talked about holding a markup in late February, she is not sure she can follow that schedule because Congress will be dealing with the sequester and the debt-ceiling legislation and will take a break for President's Day. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (Okla.), who had also said he might hold a markup in late February, has said in recent days that he may have to delay it.
Stabenow also said that she supports House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson (Minn.) in his decision not to participate in a markup until House Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) agree to bring the bill up on the House floor. Stabenow said that farmers and other rural Americans need to put pressure on the House to finalize the Farm Bill.
Stabenow expressed outrage that the Farm Bill extension, added to the fiscal cliff bill at the insistence of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), included another round of the $4.9 billion direct payments program while not providing disaster aid to livestock and fruit producers.
Reprinted in part from Northern Ag Network 179 Views