Iowa Congressional Leaders Pressure GOP on Farm Bill

A group of Iowa congressmen are pressuring the Republican controlled House of Representatives to commit to passing a new farm bill in Congress’ lame duck session in order to protect Iowa’s agricultural industry and prevent significant damage to the farm sector nationwide.

Following the failure of Congress to pass a new five-year farm bill, farmers and ranchers across the country are facing an uncertain future as the current farm bill expires with nothing to replace it. While technically 1940s era legislation will go into effect automatically, roughly 75 percent of farm programs are funded until 2013. While this quirk in the farm bill means that Congress has a few more months to pass a new farm bill or renew the current farm bill, it does not mean that the partisan hurdles that blocked the bill in September will disappear in November.

In order to guarantee that a new bill is passed by the end of the year, congressmen from Iowa, one of the nation’s most important agricultural states and a major swing state in the 2012 election, are publically pressuring the House of Representatives to pledge to take action on the farm bill in the lame duck congressional session.

Representative Leonard Boswell and Senator Tom Harkin recently held a press conference denouncing the failure of the Republican held House and calling on Congress to help struggling American farmers. “This will be the first time we won’t have gotten a farm bill [passed],” Boswell said. Harkin stressed the importance of agricultural tax credits and pointed out the workers who may face layoffs thanks to the potential expiration of wind farm tax breaks. He also criticized extremists in the House, claiming that they were “going to hold the farm bill hostage to the Ryan budget.”

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer