Even though May is just next week, planting is underway in some states and the original deadline was eight months ago, the Senate passed another 1-week extension to buy more time to work on the farm bill.
"But this time we're serious," might as well be the statement coming out of Congress. This Extension ends Friday, May 2.
In a statement on Thursday, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), said this latest extension is a reflection of how conferees want to present a new bill versus a one-year extension of the old one. He added: "The conferees have agreed on a majority of the provisions in this bill."
Still on the conference committee's agenda is to work out some of the offsets and tax issues to pay for the bill's programs-- issues that President Bush has warned could lead him to veto an eventual "new" farm bill. Earlier this week, Bush indicated he was growing impatient and would request a 1-year extension of the current bill if Congress didn't act. "The tax stuff is holding us up," said Harkin. "But, that's on the verge of being completed."
Reports are that Harkin wanted a two-week farm bill extension, Senate Majority Leader Larry Craig (R-Idaho) objected.
Craig, who wanted an end to the drawn out affair, said he finally supported a one-week extension because he sees progress in the committee's negotiations.