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In the ever-changing farm bill negotiations, word broke this morning that the House of Representatives approved by voice vote a one-week extension of the 2002 Farm Bill, changing the expiration date from April 18 to April 25. The action comes as conferees continue to determine how to pay for farm bill priorities.
However, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson warned the extension "won't be the last" in other extensions, probably two weeks, needed to write detailed legislation, pass it and send it to the President. "We're not there yet, but we feel we've made huge progress in the last few days, enough to warrant another one-week extension," Peterson was quoted as saying in CongressDaily.
Statement's from Deputy Secretary Chuck Conner indicates the progress made to date on farm bill negotiations is not enough to go back to the President and ask for a longer extension, even if for only a week.
Harkin criticized the Administration's objection to the extension, stating "it seems every time Congress advances this farm bill, the White House has to throw up another obstacle to the bill's completion. Congress needs the White House's support if we are ever going to get the President a bill he can sign. The conference committee cleared three titles of the bill yesterday and continues to make progress toward a good, strong bill. It's unfortunate that the President is threatening to cut short the work that's been done thus far."