Monday, December 31, 2012

Farm Bill extension, resolution of milk crisis are waiting on tax deal; GOP divisions still a problem

House Speaker John Boehner is "betting that a tax deal in the Senate will let him slip through a [Farm Bill] fix without having to give in to demands for a new dairy program backed by the House and Senate agriculture committees," David Rogers reports for Politico. He says the internal conflict "illustrates the problems facing the GOP as it tries to untangle itself from the milk crisis brought on in large part because of Boehner’s refusal to allow floor debate in this Congress on a full-scale, five-year Farm Bill."

The milk crisis looms because without an extension or a new Farm Bill, federal farm law would revert to a 1949 statute that would "require the Agriculture Department to begin buying up dairy products at a rate of $38.54 per hundredweight, more than double the current prevailing price," Rogers notes.

"The four top Farm Bill leaders in the House and Senate are united behind an extension that would run through September and provide more certainty going into New Year’s," Rogers writes. "Boehner and the GOP leadership have responded with a pair of 30-day patches that the aggies dismiss as a 'poor joke on farmers' — who, they ask, plants a crop for just 30 days? The biggest single issue is the fate of a new dairy margin protection and market stabilization plan what promises to cost less than the current milk program but is strongly opposed by major processors aligned with the speaker."

The 30-day extension could be included in a deal on Bush-era tax cuts, which may come up for a vote in the House tomorrow. The draft of the extension does not include "the dairy language that Boehner opposes," Rogers reports.

No comments: