Farm bill fight escalates ahead of deadline
September 11th, 2012
06:17 PM ET
10 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. independent

    The GOP hold farmers hostage in order to cut the Food Stamp Program? I guess the thought is, if we can't make the poor suffer more, we'll make middle class farmers suffer too. Bizarre!

    September 11, 2012 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  2. why the long wait

    this relates to worldwide nutrition & should of had been FIRST PRIORITY TO THE PEOPLE WHO GROW FOOD TO FEED THE NATION

    September 11, 2012 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  3. mb

    This just goes to that the republicans in congress are the problem. If you don't do what they want they will act like spoiled brats and blame Obama. Fire the GOP.

    September 11, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  4. SafeJourney

    Again, Repubs in the house BLOCKING help for American people and farmers. VOTE these TP house repubs out of office now before they completely destroy this great country

    September 11, 2012 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  5. Lugan

    I'm pretty sure if I went to my job every day and refused to work, at the least I would not get paid. Yet, we tolerate a congress that makes very good money but refuses to DO anything. No wonder we're in trouble.

    September 11, 2012 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  6. Lionel

    The party of NO is at it again. When will Republicans do their job in congress and help the American people.

    We need to get these bozos out of office and let the bill pass. I am sure they are going to blame Obama for this.

    It is time to get rid of these guys.

    Obama / Biden 2012

    September 11, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  7. Marcia

    We need to support our farmers. Our Congress appropriates money for useless projects, this drought real and affects the lives
    of many Americans, including me.

    September 11, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  8. dm nash

    Again, the GOP congress/senate want to campaign and THINK that they will remain in office when they continue to do nothing for any of the citizens that are paying them to get things done. They do not deserve re-election to continue this nonsense. No matter the issue, it's excuse after excuse while people are hurting and losing everything – and in the farmers case, it has a lot to do with global warming effects that the GOP don't even believe in. Apparently they don't believe in helping the American people either. They just had 5 weeks off and are off again in 2 weeks??? Must be nice.....If only, We the People could vote whether the deserve pay raises or the benefit packages that none of us get at our employers. However, We the People do get vote soon – I hope they are voted out. Send a message people loud and clear!

    September 11, 2012 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  9. 200 TON HAMMER

    all farmers should be help,and should not
    pay taxes,they feed us all,God Bless all

    September 11, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  10. RGD

    Time for Boehner to pack his bags and hand baton to next Speaker Pelosi after this election after dismal 10 percent approval rating and too many vacation days away from Congress past 2 years, might as well as make it his permanent vacation for him.

    September 11, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  11. enuff

    CONGRESS: DO YOUR JOB OR YOU ARE FIRED! Your job evaluation is in November. You could lose your jobs. Maybe you should.

    September 12, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  12. J.V.Hodgson

    Gosh for doing the right thing when part of our nation that traditionally is strongly Republican and Democrats propose something that helps drought hit farmers and it cannot pass the house?
    R we sure we are getting the message.= Never mind the nation/people we need to make sure It's a Republican President and Republican win.
    If I were a farmer this time around I'd teach em a lesson politics is about peoples lives and doing the right thing not delaying even one day to try and win and election... tha'st not only pathetic it's disgraceful.

    September 12, 2012 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  13. aCriticalEye

    Here is a good reason the Republithugs wont take action on the farm bill, a quote from Senator Mitch McConnel (R-Kentucky) "We will do everything in our power to ensure Mr Obama is a one term president".

    He is also one of the Tea Nuts that signed Grover Norquists pledge, ie he is a TRAITOR to our nation.
    Anyone who signed that pledge should be removed from office!

    September 12, 2012 05:23 am at 5:23 am |
  14. Mainer

    "We will do everything in our power to ensure Mr. Obama is a one term president", a quote from Senator Mitch McConnel (R-Kentucky)

    September 12, 2012 06:13 am at 6:13 am |
  15. GI Joe

    EVERYTHING escalates with a republican House, because nothing is ever taken care of until the last minute and then we get knee-jerk, temporary, partial fixes.

    Vote the baggers and the republicans OUT.

    Nancy would have taken care of it BEFORE THE LAST VACATION. Kick out Boehner and the baggers.

    September 12, 2012 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
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