June 10, 2011
The House of Representatives is scheduled to debate and vote on the agriculture appropriations bill for fiscal year 2012 on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 14 and 15. The measure will be in front of the House Rules Committee on Monday afternoon.
At the Rules Committee, House Agriculture Committee Chair Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) are expected to try to raise a point of order against two amendments sponsored by Jeff Flake (R-AZ) added to the bill during markup in the full Appropriations Committee, one that would reduce direct payment to US cotton producers by $147 million to offset the cost of US payments to Brazilian cotton interests mandated under a world trade settlement and one that would limit eligibility for farm commodity payments to individuals and entities with annual adjusted gross incomes of less than $250,000 ($500,000 for most married couples, and higher for individuals with multiple business entities). Neither provision would kick in until 2013.
Peterson and others are also expected to argue that the Appropriations Committee should not be stealing farm bill funding under the jurisdiction of the Agriculture Committee, including the more than $1 billion in farm bill conservation program cuts contained in the pending Agriculture Appropriations bill.
Representative Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) and others are expected to argue against a measure in the bill that would prevent USDA from issuing the livestock marketplace fair competition rule that USDA was mandated to issue by the 2008 Farm Bill.
As we noted in a post last week, the Committee Report that accompanies the bill is chock full of complaints and restrictions on USDA efforts to grow farm income and rural jobs by supporting the growth of local and regional food markets. An amendment to be offered by Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and others seeks to prevent that naysaying language from taking effect. We are encouraging support for this common sense amendment.
Pingree and others also plan to offer an amendment that would provide USDA with discretionary authority to use any leftover farm credit funding to begin beginning farmer pilot programs authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill. NSAC is also strongly urging support for this amendment.
We will, of course, keep readers alerted to congressional action on this bill next week.