Citing senior House of Representatives aides, the Post said
that in the event of a deal on Monday, Republican leaders would
bring it up for a House vote, with the measure seen passing with
bipartisan support. The Democrat-controlled Senate would likely
give its approval before a recess in mid-February, the newspaper
"We remain optimistic that we can reach agreement in time to be
on the floor next week," House Agriculture Committee Chairman
Frank Lucas was quoted as saying in a message to colleagues over
The five-year farm bill, which covers issues from domestic crop
subsidies to exports and global food aid, is being held up
chiefly by a dispute between Republican House Speaker John
Boehner and supporters of a program that would cut milk
production if prices fall below a certain level.
Collin Peterson, the top Democrat on the House Agriculture
Committee, has championed the Dairy Security Act, a new program
that offers producers profit-margin insurance as long as they
agree to cut milk output if prices fall below a set level.
Farmers generally support Peterson's proposal, while processors — who make cheese, ice cream and yogurt, and say it could lead
to higher prices for milk — oppose it.
Boehner has been a long-standing opponent of dairy price
supports. The speaker has derided the support system as
"Soviet-style" and has vowed not to allow a bill with supply
management to come to the House floor for a vote.
Lawmakers are more than a year late in replacing the 2008 farm
law, which expired in the autumn of 2012 but was extended until
September 30, 2013.
Negotiators have reportedly agreed to about $8 billion in cuts
over 10 years to the food stamp program, formally known as the
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which gives about 47
million low-income Americans money to pay for food.
In its version of the farm bill passed in June, the
Democratic-run Senate offered $4.5 billion in cuts to food
stamps over 10 years. The House proposed $39 billion in cuts.
(Writing by Peter Cooney; additional reporting by Eric Beech;
editing by Jonathan Oatis)
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