Republican Congressman Steve King says procedural steps taken in the U.S. House this afternoon are a hopeful sign for the Farm Bill. King expects the house speaker soon will appoint a handful of members of the House to a conference committee that will work with a small group of senators to hammer out a final version of the legislation.
“I think the momentum of this thing is moving in the direction of getting closer to get a Farm Bill done,” King says. “Each step along the way we get closer, but it’s been a long and frustrating process.”
Congress began soliciting input for a new Farm Bill over two years ago.
“It has been the longest process of any bill that I can think of,” King says.
A temporary extension of the current Farm Bill expired September 30 and American agriculture has been operating without any Farm Bill provisions in place since October 1. King believes a new Farm Bill can be passed in congress yet this year. Others suggest Farm Bill provisions will be folded into a massive piece of legislation once congress and the president strike deals on a variety of issues in November.
The biggest difference to resolve between the House and Senate will be over federal spending on human nutrition programs. House Republicans have voted to cut $40 billion from the food stamp program, while the bipartisan version of the Farm Bill that cleared the Senate called for $4 billion in cuts.