The abrupt turnaround, writes David Rogers of Politico, "came just minutes before the House Rules Committee had been slated to take up the extension in anticipation of floor votes Wednesday. Within hours, the slimmer 22-page disaster bill had been filed with the promise of floor votes Thursday. The action shows how much the GOP leadership — having boxed itself in by refusing to take up a five-year Farm Bill — is scrambling now to find something the party’s candidates can take home to farm states in August given the severe drought plaguing much of the country."
The substitute disaster bill will restore livestock indemnity and forage programs that have expired in the current farm program, with some assistance also for specialty crops. To keep down costs, the aid will apply only to 2012, while offsets will come from imposing caps on two conservation programs much as the House Appropriations Committee has already proposed. Early estimates indicate the net savings would be about $256 million. (Read more)