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Building more support for the new farm bill

A former chairman of the House Agriculture Committee says getting bipartisan approval for the farm bill in committee will help lawmakers build widespread support in the House.

But Collin Peterson says to get more bipartisan votes between now and September, lawmakers should also address concerns about how to pay for farm bill updates.

“The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provisions are a problem. The administration doesn’t like the Commodity Credit Corporation limitations,” he says. “I think there are ways to work through this and I’ve talked to prominent Republicans who think there are ways to work this out. Lawmakers just have to work together.”

Peterson says Republican lawmakers will likely ask the budget committee to do some directive scoring for the new farm bill instead of using the Congressional Budget Office. He says it would be controversial, but it’s been done before in 1996 and if it happens again, it could get the new farm bill more support.

“There’s a significant amount of money needed to do the things people feel need to be done. They’re going to have to figure out a way to raise that money without causing more division within the ag community and committee.”

In the meantime, Peterson says the Senate Agriculture Committee will be working on their version of a farm bill. However, Peterson says he’s not expecting a combined farm bill to come up for a vote until after the November election.

“It gives them time until December to get this worked out. If they don’t get it done by then, they’ll probably end up having to do another extension.”

The current farm bill expires on September 30.

Hear the interview,

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