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“Supercommittee” Action Scrapped - Back to the Drawing Board for 2012 Farm Bill

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Liza C. Moore
Foster Swift Agricultural Law Update
December 2011

On October 14, 2011, leaders of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees sent a letter to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (better known as the "Supercommittee") recommending a $23 billion cut to mandatory spending within the committees’ jurisdiction.

The letter was signed by Rep. Frank Lucas, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Rep. Collin Peterson, and Sen. Pat Roberts.  But on November 21, 2011, the Co-Chairs of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction released a statement that "After months of hard work and intense deliberations, we have come to the conclusion today that it will not be possible to make any bipartisan agreement available to the public before the committee's deadline."  In response to the Supercommittee's announcement, the Agricultural Committee chairs issued a statement:  "House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders developed a bipartisan, bicameral proposal for the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction that would save $23 billion.  However, the Joint Select Committee's failure to reach a deal on an overall deficit reduction package effectively ends this effort. … We will continue the process of reauthorizing the farm bill in the coming months, and will do so with the same bipartisan spirit that has historically defined the work of our committees."  Later, on December 6, 2011, Sen. Stabenow stated that "We will resume holding hearings [for the Farm Bill] when Congress returns in January."  "The goal is for the committee to complete an initial product in the spring to provide plenty of time for Congress to complete its work," Sen. Stabenow said.