Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is ramping up his criticism of the House of Representatives, stating that they have the votes to pass the Senate’s farm bill. Vilsack also implied that the delays the farm bill is facing in the House are the result of political maneuvering.
After weeks of intense debate and protracted delays, the Senate recently passed their version of the 2012 Farm Bill. Farmers are still in no position to celebrate, however, since the House of Representatives has delayed the markup of the farm bill, putting it off until after the July 4 recess.
In an attempt to increase public pressure on the House, Secretary Vilsack has been subtly criticizing the House, implying that further delay on the passage of the farm bill is a political stunt that will hurt farmers. “If they put it up on the board, there would be enough votes,” he said. “It just needs to get done and there’s no excuse for it not to be done.”
In particular, Vilsack is worried about protection for ranchers and farmers in the Southwest who are currently in the middle of a devastating drought. Many livestock protections have already expired, and if the current farm bill, which expires on September 30, is merely extended, many of those programs will not be continued. This could leave many ranchers and livestock producers in a financial bind when the droughts are finally over.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer