Farm Bill Stalled Behind Syria Vote


According to Republican leaders in the House of Representatives, while the upcoming vote authorizing military action in Syria has overshadowed most of the House’s work, the 2013 Farm Bill is on track for passage.
For the last two years, the farm bill has been stalled in Congress, unable to muster enough support to pass the House of Representatives. Despite the Senate passing two bipartisan bills, the House has steadfastly refused to vote on either of these measures. It wasn’t until July that the House was finally able to pass its own farm bill, one that separated food stamps from farm programs, jeopardizing the future of the farm bill, some farmers say.
Since July, however, the House has been reluctant to appoint members to a congressional conference committee that will hammer out differences between the House and Senate bills.
Some Democrats, like Michigan Senator and Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow, have argued that this refusal represents the unwillingness of the House GOP to take farm issues seriously. Republican leaders, however, have argued that other issues must take precedence.
With many representatives in their home-districts, the looming Syria vote had consumed the spotlight. In a recent town hall in Oklahoma, House Agriculture Committee Chair Frank Lucas fielded multiple questions about his position on using military force in response to the Syrian government’s recent use of chemical weapons, and significantly fewer questions on his position on the farm bill.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer