Farmers Rally on Capitol Grounds

A coalition of farmers from across the country recently gathered at the Washington Mall, hoping to pressure lawmakers into passing a new farm bill before the September 30 expiration.

For months, the farm bill has been at the center of a political firestorm in rural America. While the Senate passed a bipartisan bill back in May, the House has refused to vote on it, citing anemic cuts to agricultural spending. While the House Agriculture Committee passed a draft of the farm bill in July, House leadership has prevented a full floor vote, citing fears of a conservative revolt over food stamps funding.

In an effort to jumpstart the process, several hundred farmers, joined by a bipartisan group of legislators, rallied on the Mall to demand speedy action on the vital agricultural legislation. While the rally was organized by farm advocacy groups like the Farm Bureau and the National Farmers Union, attention quickly turned to the lawmakers who broke party lines to come together and push for action.

“American wants us to work together to get it done for rural America,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow, chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee. She was joined by Republican Senator Jerry Moran, who chided House Republicans. “Don’t sit on the sidelines waiting for something to happen,” Moran stated. When asked by reporters if her willingness to side with Democrats would upset GOP leaders John Boehner and Eric Cantor, Representative Kristi Noem stated, “I take my orders from my district.”

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer