Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is continuing his populist campaign to drum up support for the 2013 Farm Bill. In a recent stop in Jackson, Mississippi, Vilsack hammered the House of Representatives, claiming that their intransigence on the farm bill may result in higher grocery costs for consumers and an unstable market for farmers.
The farm bill has been in a sort of political limbo for more than a year. After dying in a House committee last fall, the bill raced through the Senate this year. While the House finally agreed to hold a vote on the farm bill this summer, their first effort led to a humiliating defeat as fiscal conservatives joined with Democrats angry as massive cuts to food stamps.
The bill that finally did pass divorced farm legislation from nutritional subsides, a move that could weaken the coalition that has passed farm bills for decades and will almost certainly doom the bill in the Senate.
During Vilsack’s Mississippi trip, he addressed a crowd of farmers and stressed the importance of the farm bill. “It’s the single most important piece of legislation for rural America, for farmers, for anybody that’s interested in jobs, energy, food,” Vilsack told the crowd. “[Not passing the farm bill] will create chaos in the marketplace and in grocery stores across the United States over the course of months. We need Congress to get its job done.”
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer