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Congress Extends Farm Bill as Wrangling Continues

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

NPR's Brian Naylor has more.

BRIAN NAYLOR: Congress has been locked up in negotiations over the Farm Bill for months, every so often passing an extension of the current law to give the negotiators a bit more time. The latest one week overtime period was approved yesterday. The top Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, said one more week probably won't be enough, but that negotiators are making progress. Really.

SAXBY CHAMBLISS: We are very close, and I think there is the opportunity to get this done. And it's not going to be done - completed within the next week, but I have no problem with a one week extension because I do think that it will keep the pressure on, and it will require us to ultimately get something done.

NAYLOR: That didn't go over well with the chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin.

(SOUNDBITE OF AUDIO)

TOM HARKIN: The president is not doing us any favors by the White House issuing a statement that we should have a one-year extension.

NAYLOR: Harkin says a one-year extension of the current law will short change low income Americans who rely on food stamps and other nutrition programs which comprise the biggest part of the Farm Bill.

(SOUNDBITE OF AUDIO)

HARKIN: Low-income people are hurting in this country. Well, with a one year extension, we give no relief at all to low income families.

NAYLOR: Brian Naylor, NPR News, the Capitol. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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