Farm bill passage held up by fight over food stamps - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Farm bill passage held up by fight over food stamps

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -

Imagine paying seven-dollars for a gallon of milk! Experts say it's a very real possibility without a new farm bill in place.

You see, dairy subsidies expire December 31st. They won't be renewed unless lawmakers, in Washington, pass a new farm bill, or extend the existing one, before they adjourn, for the year, on Friday.

Last week, House Speaker John Boehner said he hasn't "seen any real progress" on the farm bill.

He's talking about an extension of the current farm bill while negotiators work out differences on cuts to food stamps.

An extension is something western Iowa congressman Steve King says he'd only consider if Congress doesn't have a farm bill next Thursday night, the day before lawmakers adjourn for the holidays.

"I'm a little concerned that we'll get to some kind of agreement by the end of next week, we say, 'alright, we've got a handshake on this, let's vote on it the first day in January.'" We open it up and people poke holes in it all the way through Christmas and New Years. That may not be a good strategy. So, that would be a reason to think about an extension," said Rep. Steve King, (R) Iowa.

The key difference between the House and Senate versions of the farm bill is money for food stamps.

The Senate bill would cut four-billion dollars from the program over 10-years.

The House bill would cut $40-billion over 10 years.

Senator Tom Harkin, who's on the committee that's supposed to hammer out a compromise on the farm bill, calls the House cuts "extreme."

He said "the question is whether House Republicans will continue to hold the farm bill hostage because of their focus on slashing modest nutrition assistance."

South Dakota Congresswoman Kristi Noem said lawmakers made "much-needed progress" on the farm bill, on Friday.

She remained "cautiously optimistic" that a compromise can be reached.

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