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Lucas: Farm bill conference on track

A spokeswoman for House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., confirmed today that the House will have to vote on a procedural measure to marry the nutrition bill passed this week with the farm bill and to send the combined bill to the Senate, but she added that the path to conference appears clear.

“There are procedural steps that need to be taken to begin conference and they will be taken in short order,” said Tamara Hinton, the communications director for the House Agriculture Committee. “We are confident that conference will begin in short order.”

Conservative groups that have called for another extension of the 2008 farm bill rather than finalization of the bills that have passed the Senate and the House might wage a campaign against the procedures to go to conference, but House Republicans have recently reacted angrily to their campaigns.

It is also possible that the procedural bill will be included in another House measure.

Once the procedural bill passes and the bill is sent to the Senate, the Senate is expected to reject the House bill, call for a conference on the House and Senate bills and reappoint conferees. At that point House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, would appoint conferees.