For two years, the AVMA has worked on legislative priorities related to the re-authorization of the Farm Bill. The current Farm Bill expired on September 30, 2012. As of November 20, Congress had not made public their plan to either pass a new five-year Farm Bill or “kick the can” down the road by passing a yearlong extension of the 2008 farm bill.
Anything is possible, but it is not anticipated that Congress would pass the Farm Bill as standalone legislation; rather, if it does pass during the Lame Duck session, it will most likely be one component of a deficit-reduction package designed to avert the impending “fiscal cliff.” This refers to the deep, automatic cuts in domestic and defense spending and the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts that are scheduled to occur at the end of the year. Negotiations to avoid the fiscal cliff are taking place at the highest levels of government.