More than a dozen House farm state Republicans said the administration's controversial proposals to reshape federal farm programs radically are going nowhere and that they will offer an alternative.
The GOP legislators said their bill will meet budget-control goals, yet stimulate exports and retain income protection for farmers.
Rep. Edward R. Madigan (Ill.), ranking Republican on the Agriculture Committee, said Agriculture Secretary John R. Block "recognized the necessity of doing something other than what the administration has proposed."
The administration bill, calling for sharp reductions in price-support loan levels and lower subsidy payments to farmers, has been criticized harshly by farm groups and farm state legislators from both parties.
Rep. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) said at a news conference that he and other farm state lawmakers "agree with the administration's goals" of reducing costs and making U.S. farmers more competitive. But, he said, the White House approach would not work "without sacrificing great numbers of farmers."
Although they offered few details, the Republicans said their bill will offer incentives to make U.S. exports more competitive, retain a surplus dairy purchase program, aid indebted farmers, penalize farmers who cultivate erodible land and target federal research aid to small farms.