The House is abandoning attempts to attach disaster assistance to a 1-year farm bill extension and instead House Agriculture Committee chairman Frank Lucas said the House will take up a disaster assistance package on Thursday.
Friday House leadership had announced the Rules Committee would consider a 1-year extension with provisions to extend livestock disaster programs included in the 2008 Farm Bill but had expired in 2011. Shortly before the committee was to consider the bill, it was pulled.
Agriculture groups were lukewarm at best to the idea of an extension, especially if it did not lead to an eventual conference of a five-year bill. Groups who came out in opposition to the extension included the American Farm Bureau, National Farmers Union, American Farmland Trust, American Soybean Association and National Milk Producers Federation.
Tuesday evening Lucas released a statement outlining, “My priority remains to get a five-year farm bill on the books and put those policies in place, but the most pressing business before us is to provide disaster assistance to those producers impacted by the drought conditions who are currently exposed.”
The language for the disaster package was to be posted to the Rules Committee Web site Tuesday evening.
Lucas added he will continue to work with leadership, ranking member Collin Peterson and House members to determine the best path forward.
The Senate passed their farm bill in June and the House Agriculture Committee approved its version earlier this month. Over the past 50 years never has the House Agriculture Committee approved a bill out of committee and House leadership not brought it to the floor for a full vote.