The Big Picture: The Super Committee ate kryptonite. The Super Committee was unable to pull together a legislative package by their deadline of November 23. Leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees have indicated they will continue to work together to pull together a farm bill package. Click here for the link to their press release. Certainly, no agreement exists on what that package will ultimately look like as evidenced by the Senate Ranking Member Roberts' press release here.
So now the Committees start over in an effort to pull a bill through regular order. What does regular order mean? Traditionally, that assumes mark-up within the Committee (meaning allowing Members of the Committee to offer relevant amendments and approve the language by "reporting it" to their respective chamber, the House or Senate), consideration on the floor of both chambers, where amendments may be offered, and then a full and open conference between the two chambers to arrive at a final product that can pass both chambers and be signed into law by the President, or receive 2/3 support to override a Presidential veto. Whew. In other words, a lot of steps are involved, and the advantage of receiving an up or down vote with no amendments (such as the Super Committee package) becomes a lot clearer.
For a look at what the Agriculture Committees were considering, the Environmental Working Group posted a document late last week that reportedly shows what is currently on the table. Click here for that link.
Happening This Week:
December 1: Hearing in the House Agriculture Committee: USDA Inspector General audits, included SNAP and Information Technology upgrades
December 1: Hearing in the Senate Agriculture Committee: Oversight of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act
Keep an eye out for:
Announcements of funding availability from USDA for various programs in the next month since the annual appropriations bill providing funding for the Department for fiscal year 2012 was signed into law on Friday, November 18. Click here for the full text of the law.
For an overview of US farm programs up to this point, a report and presentation were posted recently by a new organization working on issues related to agricultural and food policy, AGree, click here.