While the House Agriculture Committee recently passed their version of the 2012 Farm Bill, the omnibus legislation currently faces an uphill battle in front of the full House, with Democrats upset at cuts to nutritional spending and with Republicans divided over the final price tag.
With the Senate approving their version of the farm bill last month, all eyes on Capitol Hill have turned to the House of Representatives. After several delays, the House took up discussion of the bill following the July 4 recess. The Agriculture Committee passed a draft of the farm bill in a 31-11 bipartisan vote, leading some farmers to hope that there was light at the end of the tunnel.
However, Speaker of the House John Boehner recently hinted that the bill might face a rocky future. While Boehner praised the work of the Ag Committee, going so far as to claim in a press conference that “Chairman [Frank] Lucas and the committee have done an awful lot of good work,” he refused to commit to putting the bill before the floor. This, combined with Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s omission of the farm bill from the House’s summer schedule has worried many farmers, who fear that a bill won’t be passed until after the presidential election.
Boehner and Cantor’s track record on the farm bill have contributed to this pessimism. In 2008, both men voted to uphold President Bush’s veto of that year’s farm bill (a veto which was overturned by Congress). Boehner in particular has been a vocal critic of farm subsidies and recently claimed, “We’ve got a Soviet-style dairy program in American today, and one of the proposals in the farm bill would actually make it worse.”
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer