Farm Bill Teeters on the Fiscal Cliff
One of the byproducts of negotiations to avert the so-called “fiscal cliff” is uncertainty. Rep. Bill Lucas (R-Okla.) chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, has noted that the House leadership has committed to “addressing” the Farm Bill before the end of the year. The question is, address how? The likely scenarios still include passing the 2012 Farm Bill by itself, including it in the Fiscal Cliff package, or extending the 2008 Farm Bill.
Unfortunately, there is no easy out as major differences still remain. Even an extension isn’t straightforward because some of the 2008 Farm Bill programs have lost their funding. Should Congress consider an extension, it may have to find funding for these programs, putting the Farm Bill in competition with the stated desire to cut the country’s debt with a fiscal cliff package.