Senator Chambliss' Office Talks 2012 Farm Bill
Tuesday, September 20th, 2011
In an unprecedented budgetary environment in Washington, uncertainty about spending levels and timelines prevails. Leaders of the House and Senate agriculture committees are waiting on the deficit reduction super committee, formally known as the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, to issue a baseline number for Farm Bill spending before they begin to draft the 2012 Farm Bill.
“The process is still very fluid,” said Ben Mosely, legislative assistant for agriculture for Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.). “Committee staff is reviewing various policy proposals from senators and farm groups, but it is difficult to move forward without some direction from the super committee. We don’t want to end up negotiating with ourselves.”
Sen. Chambliss is a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. The Senate committee, chaired by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) will write the 2012 Farm Bill along with the House Agriculture Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Ok.). The 2012 Farm Bill is expected to be sent to President Obama before the fall election. It replaces the 2008 Farm Bill, which expires in Sept. 2012.
The super committee has until November 23 to vote on a plan with $1.5 trillion in deficit reductions or automatic spending cuts kick in. According to Mosely, it’s unclear when or how the super committee will issue spending targets.
“We could write the Farm Bill in conjunction with the super committee or it may be next year before we begin to write the bill,” he explained. “Whatever the timing, our goal is to create a strong safety net for farmers with whatever funding level is available.”
“We can’t say what the breakdown in spending will be between the various programs funded in the Farm Bill, but we do know we will have to do more with less. The climate in Washington right now is to reduce, streamline, consolidate and focus on ease of delivery.”
According to Mosely, Sen. Chambliss and his staff are engaged daily with commodity groups in Georgia to formulate policy changes for the bill. Additionally, the staff is engaged with other regions to mesh the interests of Georgia farmers with those of other U.S. farmers.
“We’re waiting for a signal from the super committee and we’re getting ready to react quickly,” Mosely said.
More information on Sen. Saxby Chambliss and his position on a variety of issues relevant to Georgia farmers is available online at chambliss.senate.gov.