The panel's ranking Democrat and former chairman, Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, pointed a finger at Republican leaders: “If the House leadership fails to bring up this farm bill before the recess, they will jeopardize one of the economic bright spots of our nation’s fragile economy. Farmers need the certainty of a five-year Farm Bill. We cannot wait for the mess that will occur during the lame duck, and frankly, I think an extension of the current farm policy potentially creates more problems than it solves.”
Despite Peterson's partisan comments, his partnership with Lucas in writing a bill for committee consideration "appeared decisive thus far," reports David Rogers of Politico. "A ticklish political situation over an amendment by Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.) to verify the legal status of immigrants receiving food stamp benefits was resolved peacefully. And five Democrats including Peterson joined Republicans on a pivotal 31-15 vote upholding $16.5 billion savings over 10 years from the program."
The bill "has caused intraparty tensions to flare up among both Democrats and Republicans, who are primarily squabbling over how much money should be allotted for food stamps," notes Daniel Newhauser of Roll Call. Liberal Democrats have railed against the cuts. The Senate has passed its own bill, and there is a possibility that House leaders could avoid a floor vote and go straight to House-Senate negotiations.
Lucas said he hopes to complete the markup tonight or early Thursday. Rogers writes, "Set in the blue and gold décor of the old Agriculture Committee rooms, the proceedings have an air of folksy formality. And the one-time Oklahoma rancher — his wife now heads the family’s cow-calf operation at home — is moving his herd along." (Read more)