The following was filed on March 29 by Tara Smith, American Farm Bureau Federation Director of Congressional Relations:

“Our agricultural disaster aid legislation is currently tied to H.R. 4213, The American Workers, State, and Business Relief Act of 2010, also known as the ‘Jobs II’ bill.

“The Senate approved this package on March 10, on a vote of 62 to 36. The bill was then sent back to the House since it was different from the version they passed back in December.

“Efforts were moving forward quickly until the healthcare debate resurfaced in the House this past week. Congress has now adjourned for the Easter recess and members will be back in Washington around April 12.

“Reports that we are receiving from House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Sandy Levin indicate that he views a formal conference between the House and Senate is likely. … If that does … take place it will take a considerable amount of time to iron out the differences among negotiators. However, we remain optimistic. It’s just going to be a few more weeks before we know much.”

For an earlier Delta Farm Press interview with Smith, see Ag disaster in second jobs bill.