With Congress about to enter its August recess with no action taken on the 2012 Farm Bill, Speaker of the House John Boehner is under increasing pressure to take action before representatives return to their home districts for the next five weeks. Boehner appears to be taking this pressure to heart. He recently hinted that House leadership was considering a disaster aid program that could go into effect as soon as the House returns from its recess.
While the farm bill has dominated political discussion for the past several months, the recent drought is increasing the pressure on Congress to pass new farm legislation. Farmers in more than 26 states are currently in the midst of a severe to extreme drought. While the U.S. Department of Agriculture has lowered interest rates on emergency loans, Secretary Tom Vilsack has been urging Congress for weeks to pass a new farm bill in order to guarantee funding for drought aid.
Boehner, who has been stalling a full House vote on the farm bill, recently sparked speculation that he was planning a disaster aid bill. “We’re working with Chairman Lucas and the members of the Ag committee,” Boehner said. “We understand the emergency that exists out in rural America and we’re concerned about addressing it as quickly as possible.”
The House Agriculture Committee, however, is apparently in the dark about this suggested legislation. According to Committee Chair Frank Lucas, “I’m not writing a package at this moment. I’m just trying to figure out what is going on for sure.”
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer