Congressional farm leaders are back in a short limbo period on the farm bill waiting for the financial "scoring" on the policy changes made during Tuesday's closed door meeting. Senate Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said that several of the agreements were "innovative" and could complicate scoring by the Congressional Budget Office. The new agreements must fit within the $10 billion in over-budget spending, which has been agreed to by the Senate, House and Administration.
Harkin said the scoring could be completed as early as Thursday. House Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., told farm broadcasters Wednesday if the scores come in too high, "we'll fix it." Tight budget issues have plagued the bill for almost a year, he noted.
Harkin says the next public session of the Senate-House conference will happen once the scores are known.
The current extension for the farm bill debate expires Friday at midnight. Both Harkin and Peterson say a new extension will be sought. Peterson said he believes a two-week extension will be required.