Milk processors: Dairy Security Act loses support
By CAROL RYAN DUMAS
The outcome of the 2012 elections was remarkably close, but the end result was little change in the overall split partisan make-up of Congress.
The House Agriculture Committee, however, will see significant changes next year as the Democratic committee leadership suffered several losses, International Dairy Foods Association said in a Nov. 7 press release.
Dairy policy could be affected due to the changes, because seven supporters of the Dairy Security Act will not return, yet nearly all who supported the Goodlatte-Scott alternative were re-elected.
DSA contains a well accepted producer margin insurance program and a controversial milk supply management program.
Reps. Bob Goodlatte, R-VA, and David Scott, D-GA, offered an amendment to the House farm bill that retained margin insurance but eliminated supply management.
It was defeated by the House Ag Committee in July by a 29-17 vote, but IDFA was encouraged by the support the amendment garnered from committee Republicans, 15 to 11, according to the release.
An inquiry to IDFA Friday afternoon has not yet been returned, but in an earlier interview, Jerry Slominski, IDFA senior vice president of legislative affairs and economic policy, said Republican support shows it's an issue that's going to be taken to the floor.
In addition, Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, has voiced his concerns over supply management and said he would take the issue to the floor and speak against it, Slominski said.
"Ranking member (Colin) Peterson (D-Minn.) has been relying heavily on his fellow 'blue dog' Democrats to help him pass the controversial new program to limit milk production, but the blue dogs are a dying breed," Slominski said in this week's press release.
National Milk Producer Federation, which crafted the foundation of the Dairy Security Act, points out the election doesn't change the composition of Congress until January.
"So the same people who overwhelmingly approved the DSA in the House Agriculture Committee will be the ones we expect to vote for the farm bill in a lame duck session of Congress yet this year," said Chris Galen, NMPF's senior vice president of communications.
Although Peterson was re-elected, DSA supporters Reps. Joe Baca, D-Calif., Leonard Boswell, D-Iowa, Larry Kissell, D-N.C., and Bobby Schilling, R-Ill., were defeated.
Combined with the resignation of Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Calif., earlier this year, the primary defeat of Rep. Tim Holden, D-Pa., and the retirement of Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Ill., the Dairy Security Act has lost seven of the 29 votes in its favor, according to IDFA.
Every supporter of the Goodlatte-Scott amendment will return with the exception of Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio, who lost the primary election.