Lawmakers and Farm Groups Remain Optimistic

Rural lawmakers and farm groups are remaining optimistic about the chances of the 2012 Farm Bill in Congress despite a rapidly dwindling number of legislative days left on the calendar.

Since the summer, legislative infighting has prevented the House and Senate from agreeing on a new farm bill. While the Senate passed their version of the bill in May and the House Agriculture Committee passed a draft of the bill in July, Speaker of the House John Boehner refused to bring the bill to the floor until after the election.

Now that the election season is over, Congress appears no more willing to work on a new farm bill than it was in October. In part, that is because the budget negotiations of fears of the fiscal cliff have commanded much of Washington’s attention.

Some farm groups, however, are optimistic that a farm bill can be passed as part of the fiscal cliff negotiations. Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, believes that the farm bill can be sold as a savings bill that will allow Congress to come that much closer to agreeing on nearly $2 trillion in spending cuts.

Rural lawmakers are remaining publically optimistic and supportive as well. Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow recently stated, “We’re going to do everything we can to work together to get to a five-year farm bill.”

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer