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House Rules to discuss farm bill extension, disaster aid package on Tuesday

The House Rules Committee has announced it will take up the farm bill extension/disaster aid bill on Tuesday, and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., has issued a statement on the bill and how the disaster aid will be paid for.

There has been no signal yet of the type of rule for the bill, or whether it will be open to amendment, but the decision to bring it up at the Rules meeting Tuesday probably means the bill will be on the House floor on Wednesday.

The Rules Committee will meet on Tuesday, July 31 at 5 p.m. in Capitol H-313 on the following measures:
  • H.R. 6169 – Pathway to Job Creation through a Simpler, Fairer Tax Code Act of 2012
  • H.R. 8 – Job Protection and Recession Prevention Act of 2012
  • H.R. ____ – To provide a one-year extension of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, with certain modifications and exceptions, to make supplemental agricultural disaster assistance available for fiscal years 2012 and 2013, and for other purposes.

Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla.
Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla.
“Next week’s schedule calls for consideration of a package that includes disaster assistance programs and a one-year extension of current farm policy,” Lucas said in his statement.

“It is critical that we provide certainty to our producers and address the devastating drought conditions that are affecting most of the country and I look forward to supporting and advancing this legislation,” he said.

Lucas provided the following details:

Disaster aid package
Cost: $621 million over 10 years.
Net savings: $399 million

Section 1. One-Year Extension of the 2008 Farm Bill.
Provides a one-year extension of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, with certain modifications.

Section 2. Supplemental Agricultural Disaster Assistance.
With 64 percent of the contiguous United States experiencing drought, it is important that our nation’s livestock producers be provided with effective risk management tools.

The current livestock disaster policies expired in September 2011, one year before the end of the 2008 farm bill.

This legislation would reauthorize these policies for fiscal years 2012 and 2013. Specifically, Livestock Indemnity Payments (LIP), Livestock Forage Disaster Programs (LFP), Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-raised Fish (ELAP), and the Tree Assistance Program (TAP) are all generally reauthorized.

To pay for this disaster assistance, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program is capped at $1.4 billion; the Conservation Stewardship Program is capped at 11 million acres; the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program is capped at $150 million; and the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) is capped at $45 million.

These offsets are consistent with levels previously established by enacted appropriations — which reduced levels authorized by the Agriculture Committees — and will still allow these important programs to function at recent funding levels. In addition, direct payments — which are currently paid on 85 percent of a producer’s base acres — is paid on 84.5 percent as a partial offset.