Stabenow Hopeful on Drought Assistance

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow is optimistic that Congress will pass a disaster relief bill once it reconvenes from its August recess, even if the House and Senate cannot agree on a new farm bill before the end of September.

For the past several months, rural attention has focused on the failure of Congress to pass a new farm bill. The current legislation expires at the end of September, leaving Congress only a handful of legislative days to pass a new bill or extend the current bill.

While the Senate passed their draft of the farm bill in May, the House has refused to bring that particular farm bill to the floor. While the House Agriculture Committee has passed its own draft of the farm bill, this draft has stalled as House leadership has refused to bring the bill to a vote for fear of a Tea Party revolt.

With Congress leaving for its August recess last month, farmers have been left in the lurch with no farm bill and an emergency disaster aid bill stalling in the Senate.

Senator Stabenow is hopeful that a new farm bill can be passed before the September expiration. She and other Senators on both sides of the aisle are pressuring the House to take up the Senate bill and pass it as quickly as possible.

In the likely event that a new farm bill isn’t passed, Stabenow is pressuring the House and Senate to also take up a drought assistance bill, which would help struggling farmers cope with the unusual and severe weather.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer