Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, told reporters he will move the farm bill Thursday afternoon if the Senate Finance Committee finishes its nine-billion dollar tax-ag disaster package. After several days of private talks with members, Harkin has accepted the package that includes a permanent disaster aid plan.
Harkin has also reduced the proposed $4.5 cut in direct payments that many members of the committee were opposed to.
"We've been working to find other sources of revenue, looking at other budget items so we're considerably less than that now, probably in the one to two billion dollar range," Harkin says.
An area that Harkin feels might end up in a fight is conservation programs. He says everything from EQIP to CSP is at risk, but he vows "that won't happen on his watch."