JOHANNS SAYS 1-YEAR FARM BILL EXTENSION WAS BEST OPTION

Posted 2 years ago

By John Axtell

      Nebraska Republican Senator Mike Johanns says he has the same feelings about the 1-year extension of the farm bill that was included as part of the fiscal cliff compromise that he has about the overall compromise itself; it’s not ideal, but it’s a lot better than the alternative.

The farm bill had expired at the end of September, reverting U-S ag policy back to a 1949 law that would have forced a return to parity pricing and mandatory land set aside. Johanns says no one would have been happy with that.

The Senate easily passed a new 5-year farm bill with strong bipartisan support last year, but the House chose to work on its own version…which never reached a floor vote. Johanns thinks the Senate bill will be the foundation for work this year.

House action on the farm bill last year got hung up in efforts to reduce the budget, with members pushing for more than the $23-billion dollars in cuts in the Senate version…especially in the area of food stamps.

Johanns thinks any new version this year will stay fairly close to the Senate figure, with the key being able to come up with a farm bill proposal that’s acceptable to a majority of the House members.

Johanns will be right in the middle of the farm bill fight as a member of the Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee. He’s also been named to Appropriations…Veterans Affairs…and Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

He says he’s honored to serve on those committees because of their importance to both the nation and Nebraska, and because they’ll allow him to continue working on his priorities: reining in spending, seeing a reform-minded farm bill signed into law and providing the military and veterans with the services they need.