House ag committee advances farm bill

by Jay Sjerven
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WASHINGTON – The House Committee on Agriculture on May 15, by a vote of 36 to 10, passed the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 (H.R. 1947), the House. The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry passed its version of the 2013 farm bill, the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013, on May 14.

“I am proud of the committee’s effort to advance a farm bill with significant savings and reforms,” said Representative Frank Lucas of Oklahoma, chairman of the House agriculture committee. “We achieved nearly $40 billion in savings by eliminating outdated government programs and reforming others. No other committee in Congress is voluntarily cutting money, in a bipartisan way, from its jurisdiction to reduce the size and scope of the federal government. I appreciate the efforts of my colleagues and the bipartisan nature in which this legislation was written and approved. I look forward to debating the bill on the House floor this summer.”

Representative Collin Peterson, ranking member on the agriculture committee, said, “I’m pleased the committee was able to work together, find some common ground and advance a five-year farm bill today. Needless to say, this process has gone on far too long, and it is past time to get this bill done. With today’s action, I’m optimistic the farm bill will continue through regular order and be brought to the House floor in June. If we can stay on track, I think we should be able to conference with the Senate in July and have a new five-year farm bill in place before the August recess.”

Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, chairwoman of the Senate agriculture committee, scheduled a press teleconference for May 16 to discuss the farm bill passed by her committee and outline what happens next. Indications were the full Senate may act on the farm bill as soon as early next week.
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