Congress looks toward Farm Bill legislation this week
Written by Ally Crutcher, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
WATERLOO (KWWL) -
After a 16-day recess during the government shutdown, Congress gets back to work and is expected to work on the Farm Bill this week.
Sen. Chuck Grassley said Congress should focus on the bill starting Monday. He said he thinks a compromise can be made with a new bill presented to President Obama within a month.
The Farm Bill expired Oct. 1, so therefore, there is no bill currently in place. The bill has several moving parts, like crop insurance and conservation efforts. A major part, however, is food assistance - a part over which Republicans and Democrats remain at odds.
Republicans in Congress want to cut food stamp funding by $40 billion. Democrats, on the other hand, want a $4.5 billion cut. It is this disagreement that keeps any legislation from getting done.
Congress can either pass an extension or craft an entirely new bill. If nothing is done by Dec. 31, we revert back to a Farm Bill passed in 1949. According to KWWL Legal Expert Karen Thalacker, that would not be an ideal situation.
"Very drastic results of that including soybeans, sugar, peanuts not covered under mandatory crop coverage. Conservation efforts, research efforts would be gone," Thalacker said.
She also said we could come to a dairy cliff. Reverting back to a 1949 Farm Bill means having to go by prices set back then; prices that would cause a gallon of milk today to cost over six dollars.
Congressman Bruce Braley will be live on KWWL's Today in Iowa Tuesday morning to help answer more questions about upcoming Farm Bill legislation.
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