Grassley confident of farm bill passage this year

Published online: Oct 02, 2013
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Even though the federal government shutdown received the bulk of the attention Tuesday, the farm bill, already extended once, expired overnight.

In a conference call with reporters Tuesday morning, Iowa Senator Charles Grassley expressed confidence that there will be a farm bill by year's end, but not without bumps in the road.

The GOP lawmaker says that when farm legislation gets to a House and Senate conference committee, the issue of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will create a big challenge.

"On the food stamps, when you have a difference of $4.5 billion savings in the Senate and $40 billion of savings in the House, it's a little difficult to reach a compromise," said Grassley.

Grassley doesn't think the closure of federal government alone would prevent action on farm policy action.

"If [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid would bring up the farm bill and we could get to conference, negotiations could go on on the farm bill while there's a partial government shutdown," said Grassley.

Referring to his proposal in the farm bill to limit farm payments, Grassley says an identical provision in the House, an amendment sponsored by Representative Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.), and adopted as part of the House Farm Bill, would normally make that easy to pass. Grassley says, however, that this is not the usual process, so he stopped short of predicting success or failure of payment limits. That provision is still opposed by Southern lawmakers.