Farm Bill Negotiators to Meet Wednesday

Stabenow, center, will return to Washington early to engage in farm bill talks Wednesday. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The top four members of the farm bill conference committee will meet Wednesday morning to try to make headway on the stalled conference talks, a source confirmed Tuesday.

Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and ranking member Thad Cochran, R-Miss., are returning to Washington early, according to aides to both members, to meet with House Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., and ranking member Collin C. Peterson, D-Minn. The Senate is in recess until Monday.

On Tuesday, Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, decried Senate Democrats for not wanting to negotiate with House Republicans on the farm bill, saying Lucas has made “nothing but a good-faith effort” and the sides are still far apart. Democrats have been frustrated by the Republican insistence on cutting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps.

With potentially only a week left of legislative work in 2013, the odds of agreeing to and approving a conference report seem long.