Sources Signal Effort Underway to Revisit Apparent Dairy Compromise

January 23, 2014 04:06 AM

Development could complicate timeline plan for bill in House

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A reopening of what had been considered an agreement on dairy policy as part of the new farm bill is being pushed but is opposed by key farm bill leaders and House GOP leadership, according to sources. House Ag Committee Ranking Democrat Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) along with the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) are said to be seeking more onerous language in the dairy provisions to avoid overproduction of milk since the concept of voluntary supply management was jettisoned from the package.

Sources advise that Senate Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) has apparently given the renewed push some daylight but House Ag Committee Chairman and Conference Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and others are said to be upset that the apparent agreement is now being revisited as the farm bill finish line is in sight.

Indications are that some Democrats are pushing for new surplus commodity purchase authority, perhaps for dairy and other commodities.

Stabenow still wants to avoid any votes on specific issues by the 41 conference members, but some sources indicated that Lucas and/or House Republican leaders may seek to or perhaps should call conferees back to vote on lingering issues yet this week, likely Friday.

The goal for House leaders has been to have the bill put on the House floor next week for a vote Tuesday, which would mean the language would have to be filed sometime over this coming weekend. Specifically, sources indicate House leaders want the measure voted on before the House chamber has to be cleared for the security sweep required ahead of the State of the Union message from President Obama on Jan. 28.

Also, Stabenow is reportedly digging in on other remaining issues dealing with crop subsidy cap/actively engaged issues. If so, that will mean there may be some hard votes ahead for conferees.

Comments: This appears to be a usual development which often times comes at the end of a long and arduous legislative process – pressuring lawmakers to move things ahead. But some also believe that both Stabenow and Peterson could be overreaching as the farm bill finish line is within their grasp.

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