Many of these Blue Dogs were replaced by conservative Republicans who were riding on the Tea Party fervor of budget cutting and fiscal responsibility. The GOP, which had picked up 63 seats in the midterm, was focused on farm bill reform. Groups like the Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute and Competitive Enterprise Institute also gained considerably more energy and clout than they had enjoyed in recent years.
Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican who rose up the ranks as a reformer, was elected Majority Leader and acted as somewhat of a go-between for more established GOP leaders and Tea Party members. That association would eventually put him at odds with Ag Chairman Lucas. The relatively good news for Lucas was that he had a long-time relationship with Boehner. The Speaker respected the regular order of bills moving through the committee process. Lucas felt confident that he could work with leadership to advance a new farm bill in Reform-minded lawmakers from both the left and the right started attacking the farm bill.
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In , the House and Senate Agriculture committees went about their regular business of trying to kick-start the farm bill process. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. But it was cancelled at the last minute due to budget negotiations that appeared to be leading to a government shutdown. The shutdown was avoided, but the farm bill hearing was postponed. The first hearing was actually held in Washington on May 26, with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack as the key witness. Majority staff members thought they had outlined a pretty good game plan. They knew that deficit discussions would have a big impact on whatever they did, and as the year started to unfold, there was a growing sense of urgency.
Meeting on the Michigan State University campus for the first field hearing in early June, Stabenow and ranking member Pat Roberts heard from 15 witnesses, who discussed everything from cherries to sugar beets, dairy, farm credit and research. In August, Roberts returned home to Kansas to kick off a farm bill listening session in Wichita. All in all, there were eight Senate Ag Committee hearings. In addition, Lucas wanted the audits to be educational in nature, understanding that his new members had never been through a farm bill before and represented states from Alabama to Oregon.
Both Lucas and Stabenow hoped for the best — some sort of normal order that would allow them to educate and consult with their committee members while writing a new farm bill that worked for taxpayers as well as those in the countryside. It seemed impossible to avoid having the farm bill drawn into the debate. And it happened again and again and again over the next few years. Treasury estimated that U. There were various attempts to find a consensus for lifting the debt ceiling, while also cutting the budget and federal spending.
The verbal sparring continued for weeks. It was these high-level discussions that really drove the four Ag Committee leaders to try and put a package together during the super committee process, according to sources close to the process. By the end of July, Obama announced a deal with congressional leaders. The agreement proposed a two-stage process. Each congressional committee was asked to submit recommendations to achieve deficit savings from programs in their jurisdiction.
The president also could get the additional debt ceiling increase if both chambers of Congress passed a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution in votes to be held by the end of the year. These cuts passed the House and almost every Republican in the Senate supported them. Sources close to those discussions told Agri-Pulse that the impact of what the Super Committee process in did in terms of shaping what became the farm bill cannot be overstated.
Stabenow had visited with ag committee members in late and early about what they wanted to see in the new farm bill. There was general agreement that, from a political standpoint, direct payments for farmers would continue in some form, according to a former staff member. But with all of the focus on deficit reduction, it became clear before March of that direct payments would have to be eliminated entirely. We will continue the process of reauthorizing the farm bill in the coming months, and will do so with the same bipartisan spirit that has historically defined the work of our committees.
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The Super Committee process both helped and hurt future efforts to craft a new bill, sources told Agri-Pulse. The process allowed lawmakers to position the farm bill as something that has continually been reformed and produced savings. In an Oct. These costs reflect mandatory outlays, not those subject to appropriations. But the super committee also hurt — especially in the Senate — because numerous members felt they had been cut out of the negotiations, recalled a source familiar with the process.
Over the course of just a couple of months, a new farm bill had been written in strict secrecy… and then it was scrapped. The work on the bill, became all over again — with even more unique twists to come.
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The super committee process was helpful, aides said, because it laid out a lot of the program groundwork and the division of cuts. But it hurt — especially in the House — because the established parameters became points for future negotiations. Indeed, members and advocacy groups who had been looking for even bigger changes were left unfulfilled and looked for more ways to cut. Just a few weeks before the Super Committee recommendations were presented by the ag committee leaders, part of the Indiana congressional delegation was ready to weigh in with an even bigger farm bill cut — much to the dismay of several of their brethren.
For Stutzman, first elected in , it was a chance to make his debut as a reformer. He went on to hone his budget-cutting credentials with the Heritage Foundation and their political arm, Heritage Action. One thing they knew for sure: Direct payments, which were included in the farm bill after another period of major farm bill reform, were not going to be politically possible in the future.
But what — if any — type of program or crop insurance policy, would provide risk management in the future? Most of the options had some form of risk management with a wide variety of long-winded and sometimes catchy names.
Six trends shaping the future of farming and ranching
In addition, by almost a two-to-one margin, the delegates defeated an amendment that would have allowed a patchwork of support through multiple programs for different commodities and regions. The National Farmers Union endorsed a farm bill proposal which incorporated the use of a farmer-owned inventory system, loan rates and set-asides.
Cotton growers needed to come up with an alternative that removed them from the cross hairs of an ongoing World Trade Organization WTO case, brought by Brazil. The U. Rice Producers argued against a one-size fits all approach to risk management. The best way to do that is have each group craft a program that best fits their needs. Needless to say, there was no consensus.
But the Senate Agriculture Committee forged on, passing a bill out of committee on April 26, But it failed to gain support from some Southern representatives on the committee. After the vote, Sens. Thad Cochran, R-Miss. Stabenow assured them considerations for Southern crops were already in the bill, including the Stacked Income Protection Plan STAX for cotton, but acknowledged that more work was needed.
Budget Issues Shaping a 2012 Farm Bill
I know this is not all fully developed. Near the end of June, Stabenow and Roberts thought they had everyone on board for final passage of a bill that still had a few troublesome amendments. But they worked their magic and passed a bill out of the Senate on June 21, with a whopping margin. One, sponsored by Sens. Durbin and Tom Coburn, R-Okla. The other amendment, sponsored by Sen. Chambliss of Georgia, would have required farmers purchasing crop insurance to comply with strict soil conservation erosion standards, known as cross compliance.
With action in the Senate, the House Agriculture Committee was eager to move quickly.
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But after a conversation with Leader Eric Cantor, Lucas decided to pause on marking up the bill the following week. Staff said that Cantor wanted more time to assess the political situation for farm bill passage. On July 12, the Committee approved H. The markup lasted until nearly 1 a. Lucas prodded and pulled to keep members of his caucus who sought far deeper cuts and more substantial reforms from derailing support for the bill.
The Senate version created a new shallow-loss revenue protection program that corn and soybean farmers had lobbied heavily for. Both included provisions for a new cotton program, but the House cotton package offered considerably higher levels of support with a fixed reference price in the insurance program. The House version also continued a phased-down version of direct payments for the and crops of upland cotton. Some folks were concerned about the potential impact the new provisions might have on the Brazilian cotton case. Then he waited… and waited… and waited.
Most of the crops in the countryside were burning up in a drought and members wanted to go home to campaign for the November elections. House Ag Committee members especially wanted to get back to their districts and tell everyone that they passed a farm bill.
princessadeja.com/includes/chickasaw/2085-takip-hukuk.php But, in a year divisible by two, Boehner and Cantor would not agree to let the bill come up for a floor vote.
Related Budget Issues Shaping a 2012 Farm Bill
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