Congress Ag Leaders Confident about Farm Bill Conference

Early conference report is not favored by administration.

When Congress reconvenes in January, a House-Senate Conference Committee will iron out differences between the two versions. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., says meetings last week with House Ag Ranking Member Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., Senate Ag Chair Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Senate Ag Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., were productive. He says they all are confident that details can be worked out and actually they aren't too far apart on policy.

However the same may not hold true with the White House. Acting Ag Secretary Chuck Conner has been voicing support for reform, in particular a cap on adjusted gross income. Peterson says he is willing to work with the White House on the Farm Bill, but the proposed cap of $200,000 won't fly.

"That's been rejected, even rejected at a much higher number," Peterson says. "I'm still willing to look at payment limits to some extent, but the number the White House is talking about is unrealistic. There is no way Congress will pass that."

Peterson says it's Congress' job to write the farm bill, and that the White House shouldn't be proposing farm bills in the first place. He says that the original White House proposal was brought before the House Ag Committee and garnered no votes.

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