How Peterson Erred on Getting Supply Management Dairy Language in House Farm Bill

July 19, 2013 03:39 AM

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Ranking member did not follow Lucas advice during Ag Committee markup.

Discussions with Democratic and Republican sources in the House conclude that Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) made a strategic mistake during the initial markup of the House farm bill in the Ag Committee relative to Peterson's aggressive push to include supply management dairy policy provisions in the underlying bill - language that was deleted during House floor debate, with ample Democratic and Republican support.

The failed strategy, sources confirm, is when Peterson did not follow House Ag Chairman Frank Lucas' (R-Okla. ) advice to have Peterson's language be voted on during Ag Committee markup. Lucas reportedly told Peterson that dairy supply management would be defeated in the Ag Committee and that if an amendment was offered on the House floor to delete it, it would be approved via an amendment by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) (which it was), but that he (Lucas) would support Peterson during forthcoming House-Senate conference sessions to take the Senate version on this matter, which includes supply management.

But now, most sources believe, Lucas will have no choice but to follow the will of the House and oppose the addition of supply management language in whatever farm bill comes out of forthcoming action on the measure.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) helped lead the charge against Peterson's dairy provision. Boehner supports the farm bill but opposed the dairy provision. Last year, he proposed dairy policy as "Soviet-style." During House farm bill action on the Goodlatte amendment, the change to defeat supply management was supported by dairy processors but opposed by many milk producers. The Goodlatte amendment was approved in a 291-135 vote, with all but 35 Republicans voting for the language. Democrats were split 95-100. Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) sided with Boehner, and one Republican voted "present."

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