- House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas is convinced that the nation’s farmers and ranchers will get a new farm bill. He stops short of predicting just when that will happen, however.
Opportunity still there
If, after visiting constituents, members come back more focused on deficit reduction, jobs and other issues, the farm bill may be overlooked.
“I think Speaker Boehner understands the ramifications of the farm bill,” Lucas said. “He also understands he has a large number of freshmen who were elected on a promise to cut everything.”
He said a faction of Congress on the far left “never want to spend anything on Rural America. But on the far right they don’t want to spend any money on any occasion for any reason.”
The key, he said, is to “achieve a consensus of the middle,” a harder chore with the current polarization of Congress.
“But I think we can do that. If we can get time on the floor, the committee will do its work. The bill may not look exactly like the one that came out of committee, but I think we can get something that we can work through a relatively quick conference.”
He said the best way to get a farm bill signed is to “put it on (President) Obama’s desk before election day.”