The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a measure that would extend the current farm bill through Jan. 31, 2014, but Senate Democrats don’t think a formal extension is necessary because Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack believes one isn’t needed if lawmakers agree to pass a new bill when they return from the holidays.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas introduced the measure last week to extend the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 and amendments made by that act amid fears that milk prices would rise sharply after dairy subsidies expire.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said that the Senate will not extend the current farm law. Debbie Stabenow, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee, also opposed the extension, arguing that a new five-year farm bill would be possible if the House leadership stayed in D.C.
While the conferees are close to a final deal, the House is expected to act first on the farm bill when Congress reconvenes, and the Senate will follow shortly thereafter. PA Congressmen Glenn “GT” Thompson and Tom Marino are among the conferees for the Farm Bill.