Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, says House and Senate ag leaders must resolve regional differences over farm supports this week, or the 'window of opportunity' for ag to write a new Farm Bill for the deficit Super Committee will be closed.
A frustrated Grassley says the clock is running out for the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate ag panels to come up with Farm Bill language that pares $23 billion over ten years, which was agreed to earlier.
"If we don't have a bill to review soon the Agriculture Committees won't even have the option of submitting a full Farm Bill to the Super Committee," Grassley said. "Then the task of how to find savings in the agriculture budget will be left to the members of the Super Committee."
Some, including former House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., disagree with Grassley's timeline and argue, there's still time, however Grassley is not backing down from his firm statement.
"If we aren't to agree on an approach, either a full Farm Bill or some other option and get it to the Super Committee by the end of the week the window of opportunity is closed," Grassley said.
Ag leaders have already missed an informal Nov. 1 deadline, and now regional differences over whether to cover 'shallow' losses or just major ones, is dividing Midwestern and Southern lawmakers.
On efforts by Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and House Agriculture Committee Chair Frank Lucas, Grassley says that he thinks that the feeling generally is that those two people have gone the route of trying to satisfy everybody and it's winding up very complicated as a result of trying to do that."
Money has been the salve used to buy support in past Farm Bills, but now, there's 'no money,' and little time. Even more damaging, if the Super Committee fails to meet its Nov. 23 deadline, whatever Farm Bill the Ag Committees would then have to write, would have no protection from amendments on the House and Senate floors as agriculture opponents seek to 'shred' whatever's left of a Farm Bill.