By Erik Wasson and Russell Berman - 01/09/14 12:39 PM EST
Boehner confident of victory in dairy fight
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday said he is confident he will win a battle he has waged against dairy price controls in the emerging compromise farm bill.
A farm bill conference committee slated for Thursday has been held up in part because of the dairy battle.
It pits Boehner, who controls the House floor, against House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), who controls pivotal votes needed to pass the farm bill.
At issue is whether Peterson’s Dairy Security Act, which would reform milk subsidies and impose supply management to limit milk production and boost prices, will be in the bill.
Boehner said supply management will be stripped out.
"I am confident that the conference report will not include supply management provisions for the dairy program,” he said.
The Speaker said that he is resigned to be unable to completely abolish dairy subsidies, but that he remains opposed to adding new supply management — something supported by farmers but opposed by dairy-using industry.
"I have no illusions that the Soviet-style dairy program we have will continue. But let’s not make it any worse by including supply management tools that really will make it worse,” he said. “I’ve fought off this supply management idea for the 23 years that I’ve been in Congress, and my position hasn’t changed, and Mr. Peterson and others are well aware of it."
In addition to dairy, a dispute over how to construct payment limits for farm subsidies is also holding up the bill, which has been stymied since mid-2012.
The House and Senate farm bills contained differing caps on payouts from crop subsidies, with the House ending payments for those making incomes above $750,000 and the Senate ending subsidies for those with adjusted gross income above $950,000.