House Set to Consider Disaster Aid Bill
Tomorrow the House is expected to vote on a disaster aid package to provide relief for farmers and ranchers suffering from drought. The $383 million package would extend certain livestock and forage programs that have expired in the current farm bill and provide some assistance for specialty crops. The disaster relief programs will be extended for one year.
The package will be paid for by cutting conservation programs by capping the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).
Earlier in the week, House leadership had hoped to provide disaster relief and extend the current farm bill for one year. However, this move was roundly criticized by farm and conservation groups, and lacked support from Democrats. Lacking the votes to pass a one year extension of the farm bill, leadership abandon the effort last night.
Although the House Agriculture Committee approved a bipartisan 2012 Farm Bill by a 35 to 11 vote, it does not appear that the full House will debate and pass a bill prior to the November elections. It is increasingly likely that Congress will have to approve a short-term extension of the current farm bill in September and attempt to pass a five-year bill during the lame duck session.
Provided by Karl Anderson, ASA Director of Science Policy
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