Washington stalemate risks $7 milk - KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Washington stalemate risks $7 milk

Posted:

By Jennifer Liberto

WASHINGTON (CNNMoney) -- Congress went home for Thanksgiving break without passing a farm bill. If the bill drags out beyond New Year's Day, it could send milk prices soaring to $7 a gallon.

A key sticking point holding up the bill is funding for food stamps. House Republicans want to make changes that would drop 3.8 million people from food stamps next year, while Senate Democrats aren't keen on making these cuts.

But the clock is ticking on milk prices, too. That's because if Congress doesn't pass a farm bill by January, subsidies for dairy and other commodities will expire. And that will trigger a funding formula from the 1940s that could lead prices of several commodities like corn, soybeans and wheat to spike.

As early as January, the price of milk could double from the current national average of $3.47 a gallon.

The parties remain far apart on food stamps, which currently help 47 million people. Enrollment in the program has soared since the recession, with 15% of the population getting benefits, according to September federal data. The average monthly benefit is $133.19 per person.

The House bill would cut $40 billion in funding over a decade, forcing about 14 million people out of the program by 2023, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The proposal would also make it tougher for families to qualify for food stamps.

House Republicans say their reforms would eliminate those who shouldn't be getting food stamps by closing loopholes that let "people whose monetary resources are above eligibility standards into the program," according to a memo from the Office of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

A Senate version of the bill would save $4 billion from food stamps, with provisions aimed at ending fraud and abuse.

While the food stamps issue is holding up the overall farm bill, lawmakers are also divided over longstanding subsidies to farmers.

Both chambers want to end direct payments to farmers in favor of crop insurance programs to keep prices stable in disasters. But they have yet to agree on a way to end the payments.

Agricultural lobbyists struck a hopeful note on lawmakers' ability to work out a farm bill before Jan. 1.

"Congress is going to get the farm bill resolved," said Dale Moore, chief lobbyist for the American Farm Bureau Federation. "When they get back after Thanksgiving, hopefully, they'll be ready to say: 'Here's what we think we got on the middle ground.'"

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said he thinks Congress will get a deal before Jan. 1 and avoid triggering sky-high prices of milk and other commodities.

"The key here is to focus on getting the job done and understanding that there is a consequence if the job doesn't get done," he said in a call with media. "No one wants to do that."
   
 The-CNN-Wire
 ™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.
 

  • Police Respond To Excessive Force Allegations

    Police Respond To Excessive Force Allegations

    Wednesday, September 3 2014 12:16 AM EDT2014-09-03 04:16:58 GMT
    We are learning more about the allegations of a local mom who says police used excessive force when arresting her 16-year old son.Tuesday we got the Corpus Christi Police Department's response, they say the officers in question were patrolling the Holly and Kostoryz area on foot. They say the neighborhood has seen a spike in crime, in fact in the past two months police responded to more than 80 crime calls in that area.The officers say when they saw the 16-year old boy was walking down the st...More >>
    We are learning more about the allegations of a local mom who says police used excessive force when arresting her 16-year old son.Tuesday we got the Corpus Christi Police Department's response, they say the officers in question were patrolling the Holly and Kostoryz area on foot. They say the neighborhood has seen a spike in crime, in fact in the past two months police responded to more than 80 crime calls in that area.The officers say when they saw the 16-year old boy was walking down the st...More >>
  • Robstown Car Dealership Break-In

    Robstown Car Dealership Break-In

    Wednesday, September 3 2014 12:13 AM EDT2014-09-03 04:13:03 GMT
    The Robstown Police Department is seeking the publics help in solving a series of crimes at a local car dealership. Since the end of July, numerous thefts have been reported at the Stanley Bryan Car Dealership on Highway 77. If you have any information that could help Robstown Police give them a call at 361-387-8477 or 361-387-3531.More >>
    The Robstown Police Department is seeking the publics help in solving a series of crimes at a local car dealership. Since the end of July, numerous thefts have been reported at the Stanley Bryan Car Dealership on Highway 77. If you have any information that could help Robstown Police give them a call at 361-387-8477 or 361-387-3531.More >>
  • New Images Of Kingsville Bank Robber Released

    New Images Of Kingsville Bank Robber Released

    Wednesday, September 3 2014 12:08 AM EDT2014-09-03 04:08:48 GMT
    The Kingsville Police Department has released new images of a bank robber that hit the IBC Bank near Texas AM Kingsville last Friday. If you recognize the suspect call Kingsville Crime Stoppers at 361-592-INFO or 361-592-4636More >>
    The Kingsville Police Department has released new images of a bank robber that hit the IBC Bank near Texas AM Kingsville last Friday. If you recognize the suspect call Kingsville Crime Stoppers at 361-592-INFO or 361-592-4636More >>