Farm bill fight escalates ahead of deadline
September 11th, 2012
06:17 PM ET
2 years ago

Farm bill fight escalates ahead of deadline

(CNN) - Senate Democrats made a fresh push Tuesday for House Republicans to take up and pass a long-term farm bill that includes relief for farmers suffering from one of the worst droughts in decades.

But it appeared House Republican leaders would be unwilling to consider anything more than an extension of the current law, which expires at the end of September.

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"The House leadership, for whatever reason, has decided that they're not going to bring this on the floor," Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, who chairs the Agriculture Committee, complained to reporters on a conference call.

House GOP leaders haven't taken up the bill because conservatives in their caucus oppose various aspects of the measure, including the amount spent on federal nutrition programs such as food stamps, which make up the bulk of the bill's price tag.

Conservatives want to wait until after the election – in which they hope to win control of the Senate and the White House and be in a better position to tailor the bill to their liking.

Top Senate Republican leaders backed the idea of a short-term extension if the Senate's five-year bill can't get through the House.

"I represent a state in which agriculture is important," said Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Senate Republican Leader. "I don't believe that we ought to let the current farm bill expire if we're unable to at this point to pass a replacement."

South Dakota's John Thune, the third-ranking Senate Republican, supports the five-year bill that passed the Senate but he wants an extension of the current law because "we need to have some policy in place" if the law current lapses.

With lawmakers likely to leave Washington in the next two weeks to go home to campaign for re-election, Thune said the short-term measure would provide "some drought assistance to people who have been impacted by the drought this year."

A coalition of major farm organizations plans to rally Wednesday on Capitol Hill to urge Congress to reject a short-term bill and press forward with negotiations on a five-year bill.

Stabenow urged the House to listen to the groups and pass such a bill that could then be merged with the Senate-passed legislation.

"We have a Farm Bill Now rally that I believe 40 different groups are sponsoring tomorrow to send the message that we need a farm bill now and that the House should take the precious few days that they have in session and act."


Filed under: 2012 • Congress
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. G D

    Why after so few good ideas and so little cooperation would the GOP now take up the cause of our farmers' plight? As Mann & Orenstein noted, the GOP is now more intent on the Administration's failure than governance for the good of the country. What a disgrace...

    September 11, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "But it appeared House Republican leaders would be unwilling to consider anything more than an extension of the current law, which expires at the end of September."

    They'll no doubt block it from passing and then run around telling farmers afflicted by the drought to blame Obama.

    September 11, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  3. Gurgyl

    Nation needs to stress on AGRICULTURE and industry come back with infrastructure and green energy.

    September 11, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  4. Mikey

    "conservatives in their caucus oppose various aspects of the measure, including the amount spent on federal nutrition programs such as food stamps"
    **********************************************************************
    Those lazy children deserve to starve – and "reduce the surplus population." The U.S. has Uncle Sam and the Tea Party has Ebinezer Scrooge.

    September 11, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  5. Four and The Door

    Conservatives want to wait until after the election – in which they hope to win control of the Senate and the White House and be in a better position to tailor the bill to their liking.
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________
    The Republicans will be in a much better position to create meaningful legislation in the national interest starting in January 2013 when they have the Administration, The House and The Senate. There is no need to pass long term poorly crafted legislation right now. Better to extend the existing bill and do long term legislation correctly next year.

    September 11, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  6. Facts don't LIE

    the House Republicans are SO afraid that if they pass anything new before the election it will help President Obama so once again it's Party First and the American people have to wait.

    September 11, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  7. PJ

    So, they just came back from a 5 week vacation.
    Now they will leave in two weeks to "campaign for re-election",
    but don't have time to do the job they want to keep.
    They love to go look at the drought damage, the fires that have erupted, the struggling ranchers and farmers, the
    starving cattle and wildlife, the dead trees, and then can actually walk away without providing relief, only
    saying "they have insurance".
    There are no words to describe these people.

    September 11, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  8. Pete

    Republicans don't believe in climate change so they'll argue this bill till the death against farmers.Democrates argue it has to be done because of the extreme heat, drought but republicans don't care,they can't hear you when they're eating,this party is pathedic!!

    September 11, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  9. Rick

    The Republicans in the House and Senate continue to throw hard working Americans under the bus in order to make Obama a one-term president. Looks like their efforts will fail.

    September 11, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  10. Iamnotfooled

    There they go again. Doing absolutely nothing. Remember in November.

    September 11, 2012 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  11. Winning

    Something needs to get done, and the Republicans refuse in the hopes it will increase their personal power. Imagine that.

    September 11, 2012 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  12. Namejkane sfl a vote for the gop will cut your moms medicare and soc sec .can you afford to pay for them???

    House gop needs to be kick to the curb for good in,Nov.they are hurting the American people and shouldn't be rewarded for their party over people agenda ,no brainer and even republicans should vote againest the gop extremest and vote for America !!!!

    September 11, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  13. GI Joe

    We have GOT to get those god-awful republicans out of the House of Representatives.

    Vote straight dems.

    September 11, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    Kiss that off......the republicans aren't going to pass anything until they see if they get majority of the Senate and the White House.....then they still won't help the farmers......they will cut cut cut and farmers will see their farms go under.....That's why it is important to get out and vote for every democrat and Obama to work out sensible soluitions to our problems and not be beholden to the tea baggers who want nothing more than to cut every thing that will hurt this country except the rich and powerful

    September 11, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  15. Namejkane sfl a vote for the gop will cut your moms medicare and soc sec .can you afford to pay for them???

    Hay conservatives, you won't be there after the next elections. That means all gop .

    September 11, 2012 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  16. GI Joe

    The GOP voted for the sequestor and defense budget cuts, and they will blame Obama when it happens.

    The HOUSE controls the money. Not the president.

    September 11, 2012 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  17. Namejkane sfl a vote for the gop will cut your moms medicare and soc sec .can you afford to pay for them???

    Concervatives are out in Nov or their next election , America has had enough of these gop unamerican gop extremest gop losers !!!!!!

    September 11, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  18. Asturiano

    Republicans to the hungry – 'Drop Dead'

    September 11, 2012 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  19. Armyvet129

    If this bill is so important to farmers then drop the food stamps and get the money to the farmers. The bulk of this bill is food stamps.

    September 11, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  20. Jonquil

    They have no problem making people wait. I just don't get it. Farmers are wondering how they're going to make ends meet and plan for next year, which might produce almost equally poor yields, Americans are out of work or working for less and Republicans can only rub their greedy hands together, imagining what they could have for themselves, if they just put-off of doing their jobs until the elections. Where they, arrogantly, assume people will vote for them - despite how they've slapped Americans in the face, time and time again.

    The gall. The audacity. The lack of a sense of duty. It's astonishing.

    September 11, 2012 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  21. GI Joe

    Lousy Lazy Lying Republican bums. Get rid of the entire lot of them.

    September 11, 2012 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  22. Name

    What? Relief for somebody suffering? Republicans? A senior producer put these words in the same sentence? Oh, CNN, how far you've fallen.

    September 11, 2012 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  23. g

    like the republicans who do they think they are oil companys

    September 11, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  24. Larry L

    Those selfish farmers and ranchers are placing their petty needs, to save their farms from going under and to feed their families, above the political games of the Republicans? Don't they know that the Republicans need to block all initiatives to help Americans so they can gain votes? Don't those farmers and ranchers have any pity for the fat-cats who now run the Republican Party?

    September 11, 2012 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  25. DENNA

    The Republicans are on vacation until after the elections. These lazy bums are refusing to do any work, yet they are collecting those exhorbitant salaries. I personally think they owe us a refund of the salaries for the past two years. Goodness know they have not earned them.

    September 11, 2012 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
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