The top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee has launched a new strategy for passing a farm bill this year: threaten to send milk prices skyrocketing.
Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), said he called Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack this week suggesting that the agency begin the process of implementing the 1949-era dairy policies that would take effect Oct. 1 if Congress fails to act on a farm bill before then.
"Clearly this is not going to get done by the 1st of October, so my suggestion to the secretary is that they should start now putting the framework together to implement the permanent law on dairy Jan. 1," Peterson said Wednesday in the Capitol. "And it sounds to me like they're going to take a very serious look at that."
The 1949 law requires the Agriculture Department to manipulate the dairy market in such a way that milk is priced at a floor of roughly $39 per 100 pounds -- a figure that would lead milk prices to roughly double at today's rates.
Peterson's strategy is not to see that happen, but to rouse the affected industry groups, particularly the powerful International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), into pressuring Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), and other GOP leaders to enact a bill preventing the cost hike.
"IDFA is really going to hate this," Peterson said. "And once Vilsack's calling them and setting up the mechanism to get $39 milk, IDFA's going to call Boehner. So, it might actually work."
Peterson said his strategy has the backing of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (P-CA).
Congress has struggled for years to pass a long-term reauthorization of the farm bill, relying instead on short-term extensions to existing policy that have prevented the permanent law of 1949 from taking effect.
In June, the Senate passed a five-year reauthorization bill with a bipartisan vote of 66-27, but House GOP leaders declined to consider it, arguing that the $4.1 billion cut in food stamps was not large enough to satisfy their conservative conference.
Instead, House Republicans carved their version of the bill into two pieces: The farm policy portion passed in July with no Democrat support, and GOP leaders are planning this month to bring up a food stamp bill expected to cut roughly $40 billion from the program.
Democrat leaders are warning that a cut of that size -- designed to appeal to House conservatives -- has no chance of passing in the Democratally controlled Senate, leaving farm bill stakeholders to wonder where there's room for a compromise.
Peterson thinks his milk strategy can compel the deal that's so far eluded the two sides.
"The first thing that happens of any consequence is Jan. 1 on dairy. So if he [Vilsack] starts the process [Oct. 1], then we can be ready to have $39 milk Jan. 1," he said. "And then I think, within two or three weeks, we'll probably have a farm bill.
READ FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: 09/11/2013
Editor's Note: Once again, Liberal Democrats and Progressives in Congress would rather win a political victory than look out for the best interests of the American people. Since both sides would find it ridiculous to have such a purposeful manipulation of milk prices take place, why not just pass legislation to get rid of the free-market-circumventing policy? Nope! Instead, Progressives and Democrats would have the prices spike so they can attempt -- once again -- to blame their opposition for the affects their actions have on the American people. We have said this before and we will say it again: Progressives suck!
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