Late last week, with a vote of 217-210, the U.S. House of Representatives made slight progress in its slow path to a farm bill by passing a nutrition bill, separate from the farm policy half of the complete farm bill.
For some reason, the House nutrition bill does not include a measure to merge it with the farm-only bill that the House passed in July. To get a bill to conference now, the House must vote on another rule to merge the two bills, and then has to request a conference with the Senate.
House Speaker John Boehner says Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid must reappoint Senate conferees before the House appoints its conferees, and House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson voiced his doubts that House conferees would be appointed before the extension expires at the end of the month.
House Agriculture Committee Chair Frank Lucas has stated that once the House and Senate go to conference on a farm bill, nothing short of a complete five-year farm bill should be the end product.