As the House is getting back to work after selecting a new speaker, there are growing calls for an extension for the farm bill. Ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, David Scott (D-GA), called on fellow representatives to extend the 2018 Farm Bill by one year.
“We stand united against any efforts to take food away from children’s families or any vulnerable American in this farm bill or any legislation,” Scott said.
His republican counterpart from Georgia, Austin Scott (R-GA), who also serves on the House Agriculture Committee, agrees it may be time to consider an extension.
“I think we are headed for an extension and then hopefully we get to get the budget resolutions, the appropriation measures done, and then in January [or] February be able to go ahead and complete work on the farm bill,” he said. “But, for now, it does look like an extension is going to be necessary.”
He says it may still be a while before lawmakers can focus on the Farm Bill.
“As you know, it has been probably one of the crazier years in D.C. with the removal of the speaker and just now getting a new speaker and not having the appropriation measures done. So, right now I think the focus is on continuing resolution appropriation measures,” he said. “Those of us on the committee are frustrated, as the American farmer is, our farm family is, and I personally want to apologize that we haven’t gotten this done.”
Speaking at an event in Oklahoma City, House Ag Committee Chairman Glenn “G.T.” Thompson (R-PA) also said an extension was needed.
“So, we will need an extension. We’ve actually worked on that language. [The Congressional Budget Office] has it, our version, and it’s our number one priority, which means that other things will be put back even further,” Thompson said. “So, that’s kind of where we’re at. I would love to be able to honor the new speaker and his plan…but I can count numbers of days and there’s just not enough days to be able to do that.” If lawmakers do seek an extension to the farm bill, it would still likely be several weeks before one is approved.
National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.
Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.