Democrats in the House and Senate continue to attack the GOP over their failure to pass a new five-year farm bill this fall. With control of the House and Senate possibly coming down to the outcome of elections in rural states, the farm bill could play a major role in the upcoming election.
For the past several months, the farm bill has remained at the center of rural news. While the Senate and the House Agriculture Committee were able to pass bipartisan versions of the farm bill (in May and July respectively), bucking a two year long trend of congressional gridlock, the bill was blocked by House leadership. Reportedly, Speaker John Boehner was unwilling to risk the ire of fiscal conservatives and Tea Party lawmakers by passing a significant spending bill.
Boehner’s maneuvering has offered Democrats in the House and Senate a powerful weapon in the upcoming election. Following the expiration of the current farm bill, congressional Democrats were quick to weigh in. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi stated, “Congressional Democrats are ready to work and have been very clear that we must to stay in session in order to take action to help the American people. At the top of that list has been passing a five year Farm Bill, because nothing less than America’s rural communities and 16 million agricultural jobs hang in the balance.”
Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow blasted the GOP, stating, “It’s absolutely unacceptable that the House Republican leadership couldn’t devote just one day to rural America and the 16 million jobs across the country that rely on agriculture.”
Boehner’s office hit back by emphasizing the refusal of Senate Democrats to consider a disaster relief bill (which originated in the House) earlier this summer. According to a spokesperson for the Speaker, “The House acted quickly to pass urgent disaster aid for livestock producers and it’s disappointing that Senator Stabenow and other Senate Democrats chose to ignore this bipartisan bill.”
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer