House Obstructionism Threatens Farm Programs

Obstructionism in the House of Representatives (namely their refusal to debate or vote on the 2012 Farm Bill) could cost farmers dearly and could threaten funding for 90 percent of agricultural programs.

For the past several months, rural Americans have nervously watched as Congress stalled the final vote on the farm bill. With the current bill expiring at the end of the month, many farmers are worried about the future of vital farm programs if a new bill is not passed.

At the present, it seems unlikely that a new bill will be passed by the end of the month. As such, the current debate hinges on whether to wait until November (likely the earliest that a new bill could be passed and signed into law) or pass a temporary extension of the current farm bill.

While Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow has stated that an extension is not preferable and that most ag programs will be funded until the end of the year, some groups (namely the National Sustainable Agriculture Commission) believe that a temporary shutdown could be devastating (not only in terms of funding, but in terms of lost administrators and organizational infrastructure).

Farmers across the country have expressed frustration at Congress’ lack of action. In particular, many are blaming the House of Representatives, where political insiders believe that Speaker Boehner (fearing that fiscal conservatives would not support the trillion dollar bill and reluctant to pass a major bill with mostly Democratic support) has deliberately stalled the bill until after the 2012 election.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer