September 15, 2014

Congress Proposes One-Year Extension For Farm Bill

Trouble continues to plague the 2012 Farm Bill. House leaders adjourned for the second straight week without scheduling the bill for floor action which means the House will recess for August without passing the five-year $957 billion bill.

Earlier this month, the House Agriculture Committee passed the bill with bipartisan support.  The Senate also passed its version. But partisan bickering in the House at large over where cuts should take place and fear over the repercussions that those decisions may have during an election year have made House leadership leery to take on the bill.

In the Midwest, where drought has cut a wide swath, Representatives are annoyed. Last week, all five members of Iowa’s congressional delegation signed a letter asking that the House take up the legislation. And  House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) said this in this weekly newsletter to constituents: I am against an extension and will remain opposed until I receive assurances that this is the path to conference a five-year farm bill with the Senate. Farmers need the certainty of a five-year bill and Congress should not be playing politics with our rural economy, one of our nation’s economic bright spots.”

This week, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack designated 76 more counties in six states as drought disaster areas, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. That  brings the total for this year to 1,369 counties in  31 states.  More than two dozen large wildfires continue to burn throughout the West and several Plains states.

 

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