White House Backs Farm Bill

Now that the 2012 Farm Bill has passed its first major hurdle in the form of the U.S. Senate, the White House and key members of the Obama Administration are backing the omnibus legislation, hoping that their endorsement can help push the bill through Congress.

For the past few years, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has been unusually passive regarding the farm bill. While he has stated the importance of renewing the legislation and has urged Congress to continue funding several major programs, he and the U.S. Department of Agriculture declined to introduce their own bill, as has been the custom for many previous administrations, preferring instead to let the House and Senate design their own legislation.

Now that the bill has passed the Senate, Vilsack and the Obama Administration have become more vocal in praising the bill and urging the House to push their own legislation through as quickly as possible while simultaneously protecting major provisions in the Senate bill. Earlier this week, Vilsack stated, “The big untold story is the rural economy is changing and getting stronger …We need to continue what is already happening. We need to continue that momentum.”

While the farm bill still faces several hurdles in the House (earlier this week Majority Leader Eric Cantor delayed the markup period), some Representatives feel that the Senate’s passage of the bill will make it impossible for the House to delay passage much longer.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer