House to Take Up Extension of Agriculture Bill, Disaster Aid
The U.S. House next week will take up a one-year extension of most of an agriculture-policy law that expires in September along with a provision that would help livestock producers hurt by a record drought, according to a posting on the Rules Committee website.
If approved, the bill would allow growers of major crops such as corn and soybeans to continue to receive so-called direct payments, which are alloted regardless of commodity prices and which the Senate and the House Agriculture Committee voted to eliminate. It would also allow lawmakers to provide emergency relief to cattle, pig and poultry producers who’ve suffered losses, without having to make an election-year vote on legislation that calls for deep cuts in food-stamp funding.
Democrats have said they’d resist a one-year extension unless it was used as a way to open negotiations with the Senate on the five-year agriculture bill that chamber approved in June. While the House Agriculture Committee approved its bill last month, Speaker John Boehner, Republican of Ohio, never scheduled a vote for the measure on the House floor.
The current law authorizing spending for U.S. Department of Agriculture programs, including nutrition and conservation initiatives as well as subsidies, expires Sept. 30. While the legislation includes provisions that help farmers insure major crops, a measure that would have provided disaster aid for ranchers expired last September.
Lawmakers are scheduled to leave for a monthlong recess late next week and don’t return to Washington until Sept. 10.
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