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Will Four Days Be Enough?

With time to debate the House Farm Bill diminishing quickly, ag interests and politicians alike are putting on the pressure.

Published on: Jul 23, 2012

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's office confirmed Friday a fear of many: the House Farm Bill isn't scheduled for debate during the week of July 23.

Thursday, 64 House members signed a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, requesting floor time to consider the bill before the existing bill's expiration on September 30th.  Reps. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., and Peter Welch, D-Vt., led the group.

In the letter, House members explained the importance of a farm bill.

"The message from our constituents and rural America is clear: we need a farm bill now. We ask that you make this legislation a priority of the House as it is critically important to rural and urban Americans alike."

With time to debate the House Farm Bill diminishing quickly, ag interests and politicians alike are putting on the pressure.
With time to debate the House Farm Bill diminishing quickly, ag interests and politicians alike are putting on the pressure.

House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., echoed the concerns of his fellow House members in a statement released Friday.

"There is no excuse not to bring the farm bill to the floor. We've wasted the last two weeks on political messaging bills that are going nowhere. If the House Republican Leadership were serious about creating jobs and growing our economy they would bring up this bill," Peterson said.

Peterson was hopeful they could pass a bill, but said time was running out.

Drought Solidifies Need

The American Farm Bureau has also voiced their support for a new farm bill. The group released a statement calling for lawmakers to "expedite their work" on the legislation.

AFBF President Bob Stallman said the drought underscores the need for a farm bill.

"Both the Senate-passed and House Agriculture Committee versions [of the farm bill] contain new tools that will assist farmers, while restoring several expired provisions that would help livestock producers manage the weather-related risks that regularly impact their livelihoods," he said.

The National Farmers Union also expressed concern about the consequences of not passing a farm bill in times of severe drought.

"We are experiencing unprecedented weather in 2012, which has resulted in 3,215 daily high temperature records in the month of June 2012 alone. Congress must act to protect U.S. family farmers and ranchers from such extreme weather," said NFU President Roger Johnson.

The bill, which was passed by the House Agriculture Committee 35-11 on July 11, will need to come before the full House prior to the Aug. 4 recess to avoid the current bill's expiration.