Fiscal Fights Could Block Farm Bill

Fiscal debates in Congress could prevent work from being done on a new farm bill for weeks or even months.

Last year’s farm bill debate was unusually protracted and heated. While the Senate came together to pass a bipartisan farm bill, as did the House Agriculture Committee, the House GOP leadership blocked a vote on the farm bill in order to gain political points in an election year.

While many farmers hoped that a new farm bill could be passed during the lame duck session after the 2012 presidential election, those hopes were dashed when Congress returned to work focusing on the fiscal cliff and little else.

With the farm bill process restarting, many farmers are still hoping that a new farm bill can be speedily passed. However, with Congress and the president gearing up to start a new fiscal debate over the debt ceiling, Congress may once again ignore the farm bill.

House leaders have already said that the farm bill is not yet on their radar. House Agriculture Committee chair Frank Lucas has already admitted that there is no starting date in the House right now and ranking chair of the Ag Committee Colin Peterson has refused to work with GOP leaders until Speaker of the House John Boehner pledges to hold a vote on the farm bill.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer