On Saturday, President Barack Obama railed against the House of Representatives, accusing them of skipping town without accomplishing any significant legislation or completing work on a host of major legislative issues, including the 2012 Farm Bill.
For the past several months, the House of Representatives has held up the farm bill in the legislative process. While the Senate passed a bipartisan version of the farm bill in May, and the House Agriculture Committee passed a draft of the farm bill in July, House leadership has refused to act on either of these bills, choosing instead to remove the farm bill from the legislative schedule and keep it from the House floor.
While Speaker of the House John Boehner has stated that he does not have the votes to pass the bill, some political insiders believe that the House GOP is unwilling to vote on the measure without significant cuts to the food stamp program, and is willing to stall the bill until major cuts are passed.
With the House adjourning on Friday, President Obama used his weekly radio address to vent his frustrations at the legislative situation. “Last week, without much fanfare, members of the House of Representatives banged a gavel, turned out the lights, and rushed home, declaring their work finished for now,” Obama said. “If that frustrated you, it should — because their work isn’t finished,” he said while accusing the House of dragging its feet on vital issues like the 2012 Farm Bill.
With the presidential election hinging on a handful of swing states (including Ohio and Iowa, both located in the midst of the Corn Belt), the farm bill could become a major part of the presidential campaign rhetoric. Some political insiders expect Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to go on the offensive against the House for their inactivity.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer