Milk Debate Divides GOP

The fight over the 2012 Farm Bill and the impending dairy cliff appears to be driving a wedge between members of the House Republican caucus, further eroding the political influence of Speaker of the House John Boehner.

For the past several months, Boehner and his top lieutenant Eric Cantor have stalled the farm bill. While House leadership repeatedly stated their commitment to passing a new five-year farm bill, they refused to hold a vote on either the Senate bill or the draft by the House Agriculture Committee.

The news that no action on the farm bill could potentially double milk prices, however, has spurred some Republicans and Republican allies into action.

Major GOP allies, like Dean Foods Company, as well as farm advocacy groups have all stated that a sharp increase in milk prices, followed by their collapse, as the federal government sold off surplus milk, could be devastating to the industry.

Fearing that they will take the blame if milk prices skyrocket, the House GOP has already submitted three proposals for extending the expired farm bill, despite Boehner’s reluctance to endorse a temporary extension and despite his opposition to new milk price regulations.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer