State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
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Casey urges House to act on farm bill, for milk's sake

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | Dec 28, 2012 10:37 PM

Pennsylvania’s Democratic U.S. senator says taxpayers have more than one cliff to worry about: a so-called dairy cliff looms just beyond the New Year if Congress doesn’t pass a farm bill.

The Farm Bill sunsets every five years, and a new one must be adopted to set the country’s food and agriculture policy. The last such package, passed in 2003, expires on New Year’s. One of the consequences would be a reversion to a 1949 law that would change the way milk prices are set.

The result: doubled milk prices, between six and eight dollars across the state for a gallon.

U.S. Senator Bob Casey said Friday that would then depress the demand for milk, and hurt dairy farmers.

“It would be harmful across all sectors, so there’s really no winner if this happens,” he said. “And, unfortunately, this is all dependent upon whether the House acts.”

A farm bill passed in the Senate in June. Now it’s waiting on vote in the full House. Economists say milk prices wouldn’t spike immediately without a farm bill in 2013. But Casey’s office says within a few months it would become more expensive.

With House members back in session on Sunday, Casey said there’s still time to pass the bill.

“I haven’t talked to them lately,” he said when asked if he was also lobbying individual members of Congress. “I know we’ll be talking to folks over the weekend.”

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