The House Republican leadership postponed consideration of a one-year extension of the farm bill due to widespread dissatisfaction by congressional members to this approach.
The House Republican leadership postponed consideration of a one-year extension of the farm bill due to widespread dissatisfaction by congressional members to this approach. Instead, the House of Representatives passed a disaster relief program that extends various livestock disaster programs that expired last Sept. 30. The Republican leadership has not wanted to bring the House Agriculture Committee-passed, five-year farm bill to the House for consideration because of a split within the Republican caucus. A number of the caucus members believe there needs to be greater cuts in the nutrition program than the $16 billion proposed in the committee’s bill. A number of congressmen and major agricultural groups are upset that the leadership has not brought the House Agriculture Committee bill to the floor. Congressman Collin Peterson (D-MN), ranking member of the Agriculture Committee, continues to push for consideration of the five-year bill. He said, “Today is the last day of the session before the August recess and once again the House will adjourn without finishing its work. No wonder no one likes Congress. Members will now have to explain to their constituents why the House did not even try to consider a new five-year farm bill. Frankly, we’re in this position because the House leadership has refused to bring a five-year farm bill to the floor.” Congressman Frank Lucas (R-OK), chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, who wants the House to address the committee farm bill said, “Given that vast areas of productive pastureland are burning up and our agricultural producers are in dire need, I'm pleased that the House approved this disaster assistance measure. It provides risk management tools to those ranchers who are currently exposed. This is not a long-term solution, but it takes care of the problem until we can get a five-year farm bill on the books and put those policies in place.” The Senate did not pass the disaster relief bill before adjourning for the August recess.