CONFEREES AGREE ON SPENDING LIMIT
House-Senate farm bill conference leaders have agreed to work within a $73.5 billion spending framework over 10 years and get the farm bill conference completed the week of April 9. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Larry Combest (R-TX), Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA), House Agriculture Committee ranking member Rep. Charlie Stenholm (D-TX) and Senate Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry ranking member Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), made the announcement Tuesday.
"Farm bill negotiators today struck an agreement on the needed framework to speed negotiations for early April completion of the House-Senate Conference Report. This framework allows for incorporating the many policy initiatives within the overall $73.5 billion agreed-upon ten-year farm bill budget.
"Members of Congress on the Conference Committee expect to be positioned to make the final farm bill decisions in public meetings of the Conference the week of April 9," they said.
Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman the administration has "strongly supported adherence to the $73.5 billion budget agreement and this is positive news in that regard."
The administration hoped that during the holiday recess, ""further progress can be made that would lead to final passage of a farm bill in early April. We are fast approaching the critical time where implementation of a new measure for this crop year could be problematic if an agreement is not reached soon.""