House GOP Scrambles for Votes

Speaker of the House John Boehner and top members of the GOP House leadership were reportedly scrambling for votes earlier this week in an attempt to pass legislation to aid drought afflicted farmers while simultaneously avoiding a potentially messy intraparty fight over the nearly $1 trillion 2012 Farm Bill.

With the ongoing drought withering crops and driving up agricultural costs, members of the House and Senate have scrambled to pass legislation that offers emergency aid to struggling farmers. While the previous farm bill contained drought assistance programs, those programs have since expired. While the Senate and House farm bills both renew expired disaster aid programs, the House has hit a major obstacle regarding passage of the farm bill.

While much of the traditional GOP leadership, especially those members from rural areas, support passing a new farm bill and passing disaster aid, many conservative groups have come out against the farm bill as an example of extreme Washington spending. The President of the Club for Growth, for example, recently stated, “Republicans should be fighting to cut spending and limit government, not compromising with Democrats to spend billions of dollars on farm subsidies and food stamps.”

A recently announced Republican plan to extend the current farm bill for one year (including currently expired disaster assistance) in order to avoid messy internal fighting appears to be on shaky ground, with many congressional observers reporting that the House GOP doesn’t have the votes to pass an extension.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer