Posted: September 17, 2012
The rallying cry of “Farm Bill Now!” rang out around Union Square by the Capitol Reflecting Pool on September 12 as hundreds of farmers, ranchers and everyday folks who appreciate the abundance of affordable food we enjoy in this country gathered to try and convince particularly members of the U.S. House of Representatives that they need to pass a new five-year farm bill before the end of this month.
However, it appears House leadership is not getting the message. There are now only three days left in session this month for the House to bring the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act passed by the House Agriculture Committee on July 12 to a vote before the current bill expires on September 30.
Congressman Bruce Braley (D-IA) formally filed a “discharge petition” last week in an effort to bring the bill to a vote. If at least 218 members sign the petition, the legislation must be brought to the floor. “After 65 days of dithering and distraction, Speaker Boehner has finally allowed the bill to be released from Committee,” Braley said in a statement urging colleagues to sign the petition. “We’ll see who really supports the Farm Bill Now.” As of Monday, they had about 50 signatures.
Meanwhile, an attempt to whip a three month extension of the current bill in the House Agriculture Committee was met with adamant opposition by ranking Democrat Collin Peterson who said the Senate would also oppose an extension. Some lawmakers, including Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD), had a meeting with Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) on Friday to discuss the legislation but so far all that Cantor has said publicly is that they are still looking for “a way forward” on a five-year bill.
The House is off until Wednesday in observance of the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah – hopefully it will mean new life for the farm bill at that point. Everyone who wants to see a new farm bill passed by the House before the end of the week is urged to call their Representative today and tell them how important it is to all Americans. At the very least, sign the Farm Bill Now! online petition and contact your House member through social media. They want your vote – you want a Farm Bill NOW!