From The Hill:
Lawmakers on the House and Senate Agriculture committees are trying to write a new five-year farm bill through the supercommittee process.
The legislators are using the supercommittee to avoid what would be a more public, election-year debate in 2012, when the current farm bill expires and new legislation would be scheduled for writing, according to critics of the effort.
“We call it the secret farm bill,” said one environmental activist, who worries that if the lawmakers succeed, it will prop up U.S. farm payments through 2017.
Environmental groups and poverty advocates say the supercommittee should dismiss the recommendations from the farm-state lawmakers, which are expected to be delivered later this week. The recommendations are expected to propose the replacement of some existing farm payments with a new crop insurance program and new payments that would be linked to commodity prices.
While some of the changes lawmakers are expected to propose would save billions on paper, critics say the new farm payments could balloon in cost if commodity prices fall....MORE