With the House GOP leadership badly split on the issue of farm subsidies and federal spending, the House has abandoned its plans to push for a one-year extension of the farm bill, choosing instead to focus on passing an extension of drought aid for struggling farmers.
The increasing pressure being placed on Congress to pass some sort of disaster aid bill is largely the result of their upcoming August recess, which begins on the 6th and lasts until September 7, presenting farmers with the prospect of an ongoing drought with little to no relief from the federal government.
The House GOP saw a one-year extension, with the addition of drought protection programs, as a way to meet the needs of farmers without starting an intraparty fight between the Republican old-guard and Tea Party conservatives (many of whom oppose the farm bill for its trillion dollar pricetag). However, resistance to the extension from conservatives and some Democrats has led the GOP leadership to pull the bill from the House’s schedule, focusing instead on passing drought relief.
According to House Agriculture Committee chair Frank Lucas, “My priority remains to get a five-year farm bill on the books and put those policies in place, but the most pressing business before us is to provide disaster assistance to those producers impacted by the drought conditions who are currently exposed. The House is expected to consider a disaster assistance package on Thursday and I encourage my colleagues to support it.”
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer