Laramie, WY – Lawmakers from farming states say tough negotiations lie ahead for the five-year farm bill passed by Congress last year.
That's because of strong opposition from the White House to the bill, which would cost 286-billion dollars.
Members of the House and Senate agriculture committees say two issues stand out above the others as Congress tries to hammer out a deal -- how the bill will be paid for, and how much the legislation will limit federal farm subsidies to wealthy farmers.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson says he has had at least seven meetings with Acting Agriculture Secretary Charles Conner since December. He says so far, the negotiations have not gone very well.
Conner says he's hopeful that the two sides can agree on a new law by mid-March. He says one thing the Bush administration will not agree to is raising taxes as part of the farm bill. He says that has to be resolved before any of the other issues can be dealt with.