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Latham says House Speaker committed to Farm Bill re-vote in July

(Radio Iowa) – Republican Congressman Tom Latham says there is likely to be an effort this week to resurrect the Farm Bill.

“I’m optimistic,” Latham said during an interview with Radio Iowa. “We’re trying to find the ‘sweet spot’ to get to 218 votes to move it.”

When the House version of the Farm Bill came up for a vote last month, it fell 23 votes short of the 218 votes necessary to pass bills in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“I know the leadership and Frank Lucas, chairman of the Ag Committee, are working very hard to find an agreement where we can pass the Farm Bill on the floor,” Latham said. “It’s very possible, if that happens, to bring the bill back to the floor again to get the votes to move it to conference.”

The U.S. Senate has already passed its own version of the Farm Bill and, if the House passed its version soon, a conference committee can be convened to come up with a final compromise on the legislation. According to Latham, House leaders are counting votes, to see if taking out a controversial provision that let states impose work requirements for food stamp recipients helps or hurts the bill’s chances.

“The speaker has committed to get the bill done in July,” Latham told Radio Iowa. “Now hopefully it does not go into September. I think time, then, gets much shorter as far as getting into the end of the year, so I’m very optimistic leadership has committed to doing it in July, before we leave for the August recess.”

The U.S. House will reconvene today after a break over the 4th of July holiday. The schedule calls for the House to meet a total of 14 days in July and for just the first two days of August. Nine congressional work days are scheduled in September. The one-year extension of the 2008 Farm Bill expires September 30.

Steve King, Iowa’s other Republican congressman, said in late June there is a possibility congress won’t be able to come up with a Farm Bill compromise.