House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) says Congress may be forced to allow farm programs to revert to “permanent” law if the Bush administration remains unwilling to forge a compromise on the 2008 Farm Bill.

Acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner and other USDA spokesmen have said they will recommend President Bush veto either of the House- and Senate-passed farm bills because both would raise taxes and neither contains needed payment limit reforms.

“All three of us – the House, the Senate and the administration – want to get this done,” says Peterson, who has met with Conner and other administration officials several times in recent days. “The White House says they want a bill ‘sooner rather than later.’ But they have not been willing to move on these key issues.”

Speaking to reporters on a telephone conference call Tuesday (Jan. 22), Peterson said that if the House-Senate Conference Committee reconciles the House and Senate bills by March 15, the date the extension of the current law runs out, he would prefer not to send the bill to a certain presidential veto.

As a result, he said, House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders have been looking at other options aimed at breaking the logjam that threatens to prevent farmers from having a new farm bill by planting time for the 2008 crops.

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