Senators Working Hard on Disaster Bill – Future Still Unclear

According the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, talks to move a much needed disaster package through the Senate hit a snag Monday over funding for Puerto Rico. This is the same funding problem that kept the bill’s provisions out of the spending bill that reopened the Government last month.

The disaster program which would bring help to many farmers in the Southeast, has been the subject of a tug-o-war between the President and Democrats that want additional spending for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. The President is convinced that the money that has already been promised is being mis-managed and has refused to add additional spending to the relief in the region. According to Senator Isakson, over $40Billion has been allocated to help Puerto Rico with more than half not spent yet.

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House Leadership – Farm Bill Vote This Week Sans SNAP

Several Reports are coming out in the past few hours that House leadership including Chairman Lucas will bring a Farm Bill to the House floor without the more controversial SNAP (Food Stamps) as early as this Thursday. Members leaving a closed door session indicated that the bill may, for the first time in several decades, stand alone.

Chairman Lucas has indicated he will be open to bringing it up only if he can be assured Continue reading

What a Week

Well, if you had told me that one of the two major bills we’ve been watching in Washington would have been voted down and one would be looking good for passage I would have totally been backward on which was which. The House version of the Farm Bill failed yesterday on by a 195 to 234 margin.

Once debate on the bill began, and well over 100 amendments were filed, most expected the debate to go well into next week. Late Wednesday, an agreement was reached on what amendments would be taken up and the order. Most knew the vote was going to be very close. Democrats began to solidify against the bill due to a large cut in the SNAP program. Republicans were mostly happy with the bill with several feeling the cuts weren’t high enough in SNAP and some not seeing enough reform in crop subsidies. A handful of last hour debates and votes seemed to seal the deal and sink the bill. Amendments dealing with Sugar, Dairy and “work for foodstamps” swung some Republicans and a number of Democrats away from the bill.

Where do we go from here? That seems to be the trillion dollar question. While not typical, the bill can be brought up again. Would it have the amendments it gained in the past week? Would it start fresh with the Ag Committee’s version? No one knows. Technically, Continue reading

Farm Bill Fails to Pass House

After the Senate passed a Bill last year, the House failed to get around to their own. Now after nearly 2 yrs of work, the House has failed to passed a bill this afternoon. The House Farm Bill HR 1947 was defeated by a vote of 195 to 234.

Most farm bills are less partisan and more regional in contention. Not this one. The Continue reading

Farm Bill Update

Its been a while since I posted a Farm Bill update since most of you are already bombarded with information in the more traditional press but I thought that it would be a good time just to give a short assessment of where the bills stand at this point.

The Senate voted to limit debate and invoke cloture on S 954 the Farm Bill. This means that there will be a short floor debate and then a vote on Monday June 10th. Only four of the 12 Senators from the region voted against cloture. Passage of cloture ensures that only a few of the nearly 250 amendments that have been proposed will actually see any debate and it is unlikely that any of those amendments will be controversial or potentially damaging to STAX.

The House bill looks like it will move the next week. The week of June 17th seems to be the timeframe for the House to bring their version of the Farm Bill HR 1947 to the floor. There are sure to be many amendments proposed to this bill and we will be working to get the word out to stop any that may take anything away from STAX.

The goal for Congress is to get this bill passed as soon as possible and get it behind them. Regardless of how fast it passes STAX may not be fully implemented for the 2014 season but assurances from RMA are that as the farm bill becomes more heavily dependent on crop insurance, they will work hard to get all provisions implemented as soon as possible.

Please don’t hesitate to call Dave in our office if you have questions.


Busy Week In Washington

Boy… this has been a busy week in Washington. Looks like several of these ahead.

On Tuesday, the Senate Ag Committee marked up and then passed their version of the Farm Bill. The bill has left STAX pretty well unscathed through the committee process. This is good news but if debate in the committee is any indication, some damaging amendments could be offered during the floor debate.

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