With the Senate announcing their members for the conference committee on the Farm earlier this week, the process moved slightly closer. The House has yet to announce conferees.
One of the members of the conference committee, Senator Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, says his number one priority is to tighten payment limitations in the Farm Bill. During Senate debate, Grassley introduced an amendment that would have capped the Adjusted Gross Income at $250,000 to receive payments. The amendment received a majority of votes, but fell short of the 60-vote threshold that had been set.
Since then Grassley has continued to work to tighten up the rules on payment limits. He recently requested some AGI data from the Internal Revenue Service.
"The data validates my concerns," Grassley says. "The so-called reforms in the House bill on one hand and the Senate in the other hand, which are different, had loopholes to drive a tractor through, and could lead to even more legal subterfuge of the law than we already have."
Grassley says as the law is with either version of the Farm Bill, there are several ways to circumvent the payment limitations.
"There's no doubt that we need a farm safety net," Grassley says. "But unless we begin making some serious reforms through payment limitations, we're going to lose support for even a basic safety net from urban people who control the House of Representatives."