Farm Bill Petition Filed

Iowa Representative Bruce Braley officially filed a discharge petition earlier this week, clearing the path for an attempt to bypass House leadership and force the 2012 Farm Bill to a floor vote.

For months, the farm bill has been in a state of limbo in Washington. While the Senate passed their version of the bill in May, the House refused to vote on it, preferring, instead, to pass their own version. While the House Agriculture Committee passed a draft in July, Speaker of the House John Boehner has kept it from a full floor vote (fearing, some speculate, that Tea Partiers and fiscal conservatives will kill the bill).

In response to this delay, rural representatives have been threatening to submit a discharge petition, which, if signed by a majority of representatives, would force a vote on the farm bill, bypassing obstructionism from some members of Congress.

The petition itself has faced some significant legislative hurdles. On Monday, Representative Frank Lucas, chair of the House Agriculture Committee, released the text of the farm bill draft. In response, several committees claimed ownership of the bill (a move that Braley claims originated from the Speaker’s office as a parliamentary tactic to prevent the farm bill from reaching the floor).

“Games are being played in Washington, as Speaker Boehner is using all the moves in the procedural playbook to keep the farm bill off the House Floor. He has decided to personally overrule the bipartisan majority of the House Agriculture Committee by keeping the bill bottled up,” Barley said.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer