With Congress soon returning to Washington for the lame duck session, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is urging senators and representatives to focus on passing a reform-minded farm bill.
For the past several months, the 2012 Farm Bill has been paralyzed in Congress. While the Senate passed their version of the bill in May and the House Agriculture Committee approved a draft of the bill in July, the GOP leadership in the House refused to hold a vote on the bill, preferring to wait until after the 2012 election.
With the election season over and Congress returning to work for the next four weeks, Vilsack is hoping that the House and Senate can finally put aside their partisan differences and pass the long delayed farm bill. Vilsack promised that the US Department of Agriculture “would do everything we can” to make sure there is a new farm bill in place by next fall.
Some agricultural lobbyists, however, are less optimistic. Citing the intense partisan divide between the House and Senate and the vast differences in both chambers’ proposed bills, representatives of the Farm Bureau and the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition have both expressed doubts that Congress can pass a bill in the next four weeks.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer