The he is Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley and the subject of all the conjecture is the payment limit legislation Grassley has indicated he would introduce as an amendment to the FY04 agricultural appropriations bill.

With Congress now likely to fold all of the remaining 2004 appropriations bills into an omnibus spending bill, some observers were saying that meant the end of Grassley’s payment limit efforts – for this fiscal year anyway.

But Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is being quoted as saying senators will be allowed to offer amendments to the spending bills when they are considered by the Senate, which could happen the week of Oct. 27.

Not leaving the issue to chance, the National Cotton Council has been urging its members to contact their senators and ask them to oppose any attempts by Sen. Grassley or others to amend the payment limit restrictions, eliminate certificate redemptions or modify the cotton provisions of the 2002 farm bill.

“It is critical that we work to defeat any amendments that might be offered during floor consideration that would alter the cotton program or payment limit provisions of the farm bill,” said Mark Lange, the NCC’s president and CEO.

“If the Senate rejects an effort to add a payment limit amendment to the appropriations bill, it cannot be included in the final bill since the House version does not include a payment limit provision. If the Senate approves a payment limit amendment, the conferees will have to debate the issue.”

Lange said the uncertainty over the possible amendment will cause uncertainty and disrupt financing, marketing and cropping plans for the nation’s farmers.

Speaking to Iowa reporters last week, Grassley said he promised to offer several amendments to the appropriations bill, including one to limit payments.

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