House Backs Off Farm Bill Debate

Following the Senate’s recent passage of the 2012 Farm Bill, the House of Representatives recently, and abruptly, ended the markup process, leaving some farmers and lawmakers worried that House leadership does not plan to pass a bill this session.

After months of debate and discussion, the Senate passed the $1 trillion farm bill, giving farmers some hope that a comprehensive agricultural policy would be put into effect by the end of September. However, despite the hurdles that the Senate bill has overcome, it may still stall in the House.

Current House leadership appears to be at war with itself. House Agriculture Committee Chair Frank Lucas of Oklahoma has promised to move heaven and earth to pass a farm bill after the Fourth of July recess. For the past several weeks, Lucas has been vocal in his determination to ensure that the farm bill moves through the House. However, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia recently pulled back from a planned mark-up, signaling his unwillingness to push through a new bill.

While Cantor’s representatives stated that his reluctance to move forward on the farm bill is merely a sign of his desire to temporarily pause debate, some Capitol Hill insiders believe that House leaders did not expect the Senate to take such quick action on the farm bill and remain unprepared to present their final farm bill proposals.

In addition, some House leaders still believe that the Senate bill both spends too much and is too detrimental to Southern farmers.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer