30-day farm bill extension clears House

The House quickly approved a 30-day extension of federal farm programs on Thursday in an effort to ensure there is no disruption of these programs over the next few weeks.

The House passed H.R. 3695 in a voice vote after House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) said the certainty of a 30-day deal is needed.

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"I believe this short-term extension provides certainty to everyone going into the new year, that permanent law will not be triggered while the conference committee continues its work on a new bill," he said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), however, has said the Senate won't take up an extension.

Supporters of an extension said it's needed because without one, federal dairy subsidies could end, which many fear would increase the price of dairy products. However, Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.) said the bill is not necessary, mirroring comments from Senate Democrats who have said they will not take up a 30-day bill at all.

"Extending the current programs through the end of January ... when it looks like we will be able to vote on a five-year farm bill ... is not necessary," Costa said.

Despite his objection, no one called for a recorded vote, and the measure was approved by voice vote.

Later on, the House passed two other suspension bills by voice:

— H.R. 1447, the Death in Custody Reporting Act, requiring states to report to the federal government on all deaths of people in custody, and

— H.R. 3509, the Assessing Progress in Haiti Act, requiring the State Department to report on U.S. aid efforts in Haiti.

— This story was updated at 4:28 p.m.