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AFB Says Only Short Farm Bill Extension May Be Needed

An American Farm Bureau official says just a short-term extension of maybe a few weeks will be needed to write a new farm bill but complains lawmakers should have done their job already.

“If I was ‘king for the day,’ we wouldn’t need an extension. Congress would actually do their job and would’ve had this done before September 30th,” says American Farm Bureau Managing Director of Government Affairs Ryan Yates. “With the margins that we have in Congress, Republicans and Democrats have to work together to get a farm bill done. I’m convinced, despite the differences between the chair and ranking in both the Senate and House Ag committees, that they can come together, that they can find a way to get past these differences and get a farm bill done.”

But with just a few legislative weeks left to the year and a new Speaker facing many other challenges, Yates says, “Congress can do what they want. If Congress needs more time, they’ll give themselves an extension to get the job done just like they do with the appropriations process. If they run out of time, they’ll get a CR. If they need to give an extension, they’ll get an extension. Looking at the calendar, it’s hard to see where the farm bill fits in from a legislative day standpoint. It will be, certainly, a challenge.”

Yates says he’s hearing in House circles that only a few extra weeks may be needed—not the one-year extension Senate Ag leaders are considering with a presidential election year coming up. Meantime, Yates says the Farm Bureau will continue to press lawmakers to, as he puts it, “do their job” and get a farm bill done as soon as possible.

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