Farm Bill Remains Partisan Tool

Even after the expiration of the current farm bill and the adjournment of Congress, the failed 2012 Farm Bill remains a potent political tool for lawmakers in an election year.

For the past several months, the farm bill debate dominated rural news across the country. Congress was willing to do little more, it seemed, that pontificate over the importance of agriculture to the United States. It was not willing, however, to actually come together to pass meaningful, bipartisan farm legislation.

With the current farm bill expired, Congress is still pontificating on farm policy and some potential lawmakers are using the farm bill as a weapon in various reelection campaigns. Indiana Senate candidate Joe Donnelly, for example, recently linked his opponent to the partisan gridlock in Washington that stalled the farm bill.

 “Tea Party politicians playing [Republican Senate candidate Richard] Mourdock-style ‘my way or the highway’ games prevented the bipartisan Farm Bill from coming up for a vote. I don’t understand how you can put politics before giving our ag community — which provides our country and the world with food, feed, and energy — the common sense bill they deserve,” Donnelly stated in a recent campaign stop.

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow praised the Senate and the House Agriculture Committee for coming together to pass bipartisan farm bills, but attacked House leadership, 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.”

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer