Farm bill negotiations resume as the House mulls a short-term extension

Farm bill negotiations resumed between the top leaders of the Agriculture committees on Tuesday afternoon, as the House prepares to move a short-term extension of the 2008 bill.

Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), and Reps. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) are trying to come to a framework deal on farm subsidies and food stamp cuts for the House-Senate conference committee to consider before the House leaves for recess on Friday.

The slow progress on the farm bill has GOP leaders in the House preparing an extension of the expired farm bill, which ended Oct. 1, through January. Without an extension, milk prices could spike in January.

Stabenow said she is opposed to any extension, and the Senate would not pass it.

“Chairman Lucas and I are working in good faith to produce a conference report that's good for farmers, ranchers and families. A one-month extension through January could allow direct payments to continue for another year. That's absolutely unacceptable and will not pass the Senate. I urge House leadership to keep the House in session next week so we can get this done by the end of the year," Stabenow said through a spokesman. 

Agreement on food stamp cuts might be closer than agreeing to the exact shape of commodity subsidies. The Congressional Budget Office has been scoring a new approach to price-based supports based on historical acreage. Because it has not been tried before, lawmakers are closely examining the implications of going to the new system, Lucas has said.