Montana Senator Jon Tester, currently locked in a close race with Republican challenger Denny Rehberg, recently unloaded on the House GOP leadership, accusing them of putting partisan politics ahead of agricultural aid.
Tester’s comments are part of a chorus of angry rural voices expressing frustration at Congress’s lack of action on the farm bill, especially in light of the ongoing drought that is devastating agricultural communities across the country. For the past year, agricultural issues have taken a backseat politically. Some farmers had hoped that with the expiration of the current farm bill looming, congressional leaders would put aside their partisan differences and work together to pass a new farm bill. Sadly, these hopes have not been realized.
While the Senate passed their version of the farm bill, a bill Tester described as bipartisan, the House has been reluctant to debate the vital agricultural legislation. Speaker of the House John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor have both hinted that they may not have the votes necessary to pass the bill (some pundits on Capitol Hill believe that some conservatives in Washington are holding out for even deeper cuts to the Food Stamp Program before they will vote for the farm bill).
In an op-ed published in several Montana newspapers, Tester attacked this political brinksmanship, arguing that the House should pass the bipartisan Senate bill rather than forcing farmers to suffer in order to satisfy unrelated political goals.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer