Challenges Ahead for Super Committee

Johnson worried that difficulty will mean further delay of writing a Farm Bill.

Published on: Aug 12, 2011

The Super Committee members, who are charged with reducing the national debt, have been named. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., named Representatives Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., and Chris Van Hollen, D-Md. They join Representatives Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, Dave Camp, R-Mich., and Fred Upton, R-Mich., as well as Senators Patty Murry, D-Wash., Max Baucus, D-Mont., John Kerry, D-Mass., Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio. Two of the members have a strong farm background; Baucus is a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and Portman is a former U.S. Trade Representative.

National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson says no matter who is on the panel, they have a huge task trying to come to a debt solution that will pass Congress.

"You've got this committee who is junior to all the principles who couldn't get it done before," Johnson said. "It's just an enormous challenge. I won't say it won't be done or can't be done, but I really think they're going to have a difficult time coming up with something that is going to pass both houses and get the President's signature, which means then that you drop back to the sequestration scenario."

The Super Committee needs seven votes to pass its proposal and the rest of Congress will not be able to amend the plan or keep it from coming to a vote, they will only be able to vote it up or down.

Johnson says the major problem with the Super Committee decisions is the uncertainty and delay it will cause in writing the next Farm Bill.

"It means that we don't know anything yet in terms of writing a new Farm Bill," Johnson said. "We're going to have to wait until we see what the Super Committee comes out with, then we're going to have to wait and see whether that is something that is able to advance in Congress and get the President's signature. Only then will we have, hopefully, some long term certainty sufficient to write a Farm Bill, and the calendar, you know the pages keep turning."

The Super Committee has until Nov. 23 to finish their proposal. Johnson says the worst part is this also leads to continued uncertainty in the marketplace.