A former chair of the House Agriculture Committee is optimistic that Congress will pass the next farm bill on-time. Representative Frank Lucas, an Oklahoma Republican, says he believes it is possible to finish the 2023 Farm Bill in 2023.
Lucas; “One of the most important things we had to do was pass a piece of legislation dealing not only with the debt ceiling but setting spending levels for the next few years. The allocation process in the House and Senate is going on. As we wait for those final numbers in the House, Chairman Thompson is now moving us in the direction of not just hearing here in D.C., but also field hearings around the country laying the groundwork.”
Lucas says there are just a few weeks left to legislate in the current fiscal year, but says the Farm Bill is on track. “I’m an international optimist, but we only have a few weeks left in June to legislate, there’s a few weeks in July, the traditional August work period back home, and that brings us around to September, and we are starting to get down towards the end of the year,” according to Lucas. “So, don’t be surprised, as has been the case in almost all the farm bills in recent history, if we wind up with an extension, but we are now on track.”
Lucas talked about the steps that will need to take place to give farmers what they will need in this next farm bill, as he said he would rather have a one-year extension than have a weak Farm Bill for the next five years.
He says; “If a one-year extension means that we have a better set of budget numbers a year from now, if it helps facilitate a strong five-year Farm Bill, then yes, I will take an extension. After all, we got the ’14 Farm Bill two years after the previous bill was set to come to an end. We had to do the extensions, but it ultimately got us to the ’14 bill that became the base bill in ’18 that I believe will be the base bill then in 2023 or 2024, depending on what happens.”
Story provided by NAFB News Service and Ron Hays, Radio Oklahoma Network, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma