Lawmakers representing rural areas are making last-ditch efforts to negotiate a House-Senate farm bill compromise, hoping they can get a five-year farm bill attached to a fiscal cliff deal.
“Of course, the next week is pivotal,” one congressional aide said.
Most U.S. farm support programs expired on Oct. 1 and livestock programs lapsed a year earlier. The Senate passed a five-year farm bill, as did the House Agriculture Committee.
House leaders have said they plan to “deal” with the farm bill in the lame-duck session but have not tipped their hand as to how.
The most likely path for the farm bill would be to use it as part of a deal to avert the more than $500 billion in tax increases and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff. The Senate farm bill cuts the deficit by $23 billion and the House bill cuts it by $35 billion, over ten years.