House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway is working to get votes for his version of the farm bill. Russell Group President Randy Russell is keeping an eye on Congress and the support for the farm bill. “If you would have asked me eight weeks ago if it would be possible to pass a farm bill on the House floor with just Republican votes, to be very honest, I would have said no. Every indication we’re getting is Mike Conaway has made lots of progress with various constituencies within the Republican caucus. The prospects are improving he may get to get to 218.”
Russell thinks a bill will be brought forward to the floor when Republicans are confident they have the votes. In terms of timing, this could be after a congressional recess the first week of May. The Senate is making progress. “They’re working closely together. I’ve touched base with both sides. It’s a different dynamic when you’re in the Senate. You can’t pass a bill without 60 votes. Chairman Roberts went in knowing he needed to have Debbie Stabenow on board to get a bipartisan bill. That changes the whole nature of how you go about writing the bill and provisions in the bill. They’ll probably reach some kind of agreement in May, and we expect a committee mark up in the Senate Agriculture Committee before Memorial Day.”
RRFN’s Farm Bill Focus coverage is sponsored by the Minnesota Corn Growers Association.