Numerous sources are reporting that House Speaker John Boehner could officially appoint farm bill conferees as soon as today. Representative Krist Noem stated yesterday that she had received assurances from Boehner that conferees would be appointed no later than next week. Suggestions have been made that the appointments may include South Dakota Republican Kristi Noem, who is involved on the agriculture committee. Speculation so far has centered around primarily ag committee members, although controversial SNAP amendment writer Steve Southerland of Florida has also been mentioned as a possibility.
Senate Farm Bill Conferees include for the Democrats: Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Senators Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, Max Baucus, D-Mont., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. and Michael Bennet, D-Colo.
Republican appointees include: Ranking Member Thad Cochran, R-Miss. and Senators Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., John Boozman, R-Ark., and John Hoeven, R-N.D.
In other Washington news, House Republican leaders unveiled a plan for a six-week increase in the nation’s debt ceiling Thursday morning. The Treasury has said the nation will hit the debt ceiling October 17th and could begin defaulting on debts shortly thereafter. The Republican proposal would extend the debt ceiling to November 22nd – but does not address the government shutdown. According to Boehner – this is an attempt to meet the President halfway. It appears the proposal could be acceptable to President Obama. White House spokesman Jay Carney said as long as there were no conditions attached – the President would likely sign a short-term debt ceiling hike. He did express that raising the debt ceiling for an extended period of time would be better – however. Still – Carney called it encouraging that House Republicans are considering a debt ceiling increase.