Where we stand with the Farm Bill

A reprint from yesterday's online CQ Today Online News:

July 19, 2012 – 11:33 a.m.

Sixty-Two House Members Sign Letter Urging Farm Bill Action

By Philip Brasher, CQ Staff

A bipartisan coalition organized by a member of Speaker John A. Boehner’s leadership team is urging House leaders to bring a farm policy bill to the floor before the August recess.

South Dakota Republican Kristi Noem teamed up with Vermont Democrat Peter Welch to author a letter to the leadership that was signed by 24 Democrats and 38 Republicans, including a close ally of Boehner’s, Republican Tom Latham of Iowa.

In a news conference Thursday, Boehner said no decision has been made on when to bring up the bill (HR 6083). “When we have one, we will let you know,” he said.

The Speaker has been resisting a floor debate on the farm bill amid concerns that it will spotlight divisions among Republicans and divert attention from the majority’s pre-election agenda. The House Agriculture Committee voted 35-11 on July 11 to approve the measure, which would renew nutrition and agriculture programs.

Some GOP panel members have suggested that leaders skip the floor vote and instead negotiate directly with the Senate, which passed its version (S 3240) with bipartisan support on June 21.

“The message from our constituents and rural America is clear: We need a farm bill now,” the letter says. “We ask that you bring a farm bill up before the August district work period so that the House will have the opportunity to work its will. We ask that you make this legislation a priority of the House as it is critically important to rural and urban Americans alike.”

Richard E. Cohen contributed to this story, which first appeared on Executive Briefing: Agriculture & Food.

Source: CQ Today Online News

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