A host of Congress members have come forward voicing support for the passage of a new, five-year farm bill when Congress reconvenes for the lame duck session on Tuesday.
Several prominent members of the House and Senate Ag Committees have indicated support for the farm bill – no surprise for many of them, who have long supported the bill since it became evident that a new bill wouldn't pass before the Sept. 30 deadline.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, tied the impending budget situation to the Farm Bill.
"Americans could not be more clear that now that the election is over, they want us to work together to create jobs and reduce the deficit. If Congress can work together to pass the Farm Bill, it will create the trust and momentum we need to overcome gridlock and solve the challenges our country faces," Stabenow said in a press statement. "Passing a bipartisan Farm Bill that reduces the deficit by $23 billion is a significant first step in meeting the critical deficit reduction challenges our country must face head-on this year."
As Stabenow mentioned, the Senate farm bill reduces spending by about $23 billion, while the House version cuts spending by $35 billion – a chunk of change that has many lumping the farm bill into the "fiscal cliff" discussion.
Ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee Collin Peterson didn't include the deficit in his comments about the farm bill, but said he was optimistic about passing the farm bill. He added that there was "no good reason not to vote on the bill" when Congress reconvenes.
"This will give us the time we need to work out our differences with the Senate and get a new five-year farm bill signed into law by the end of the year," Peterson said. He also squelched ideas of an extension: “I remain opposed to an extension of any kind for any time."
Both the House and the Senate return to session Nov. 13.