Even A Top Senate Republican Blames House GOP for Farm Bill Gridlock

The election has come and gone, but nothing has changed for America’s Family Farmers who are hurting because of low crop prices coupled with retaliatory tariffs abroad as a result of Trump’s trade war. It is time for the House Republicans to end their obstructionist holdout and pass a Farm Bill that will help keep the people who grow our food in business and get them through the cold winter months.

The House Republicans are blocking passage of a Farm Bill because of their demands that they be allowed to cut and restrict food and nutrition programs that the most vulnerable Americans depend on, including children, seniors, veterans, active duty military families, and physically and mentally challenged Americans.

Even Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) blames House Republicans for the holdup, saying House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) is standing in the way of passing a Farm Bill.

“I enjoy working with him, he’s a good man; but we can’t do this with saying, ‘OK, we’ve got everything tied down’ only to find out that we have counter-proposals four or five days later. We just have to come to a conclusion,” Roberts said, according to Politico.

Conaway is really just carrying the water for lame duck House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Trump, who had hoped they could exploit the Farm Bill to pursue their agenda of cutting a gaping hole in the American Safety Net. Fortunately, a powerful bipartisan coalition in the Senate led by Roberts and ranking Agriculture Committee member Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) said no way to the House bill.

Clearly the burden on Family Farmers can be lifted if the House Republican leadership would end the gridlock and support the bipartisan Senate Farm Bill, which does not include the devastating cuts in the House version. It is widely known that if the House Republicans would allow a vote on the Senate version of the Farm Bill it would pass immediately.

We would prefer the lame duck Congress pass the Senate version of the Farm Bill and be done with it for the sake of Family Farmers. The next best alternative is for the lame duck Congress to pass an extension and let the next Congress pass the long-term Farm Bill – a scenario that bodes well for Family Farmers because the GOP saboteurs would no longer have control of the House. We expect the House would craft and approve a much stronger Farm Bill with the Democrats in charge.

It is increasingly looking like the lame duck Congress will go the route of a Farm Bill extension by Christmas.  Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) predicted it would likely be a one-year extension of the Farm Bill passed in 2014, but our sources on Capitol Hill tell us it could be a shorter bridge given the favorable makeup of the next Congress.

Anyway you slice the pie, it is time to stop using Family Farmers and food and nutrition programs as pawns. The stalling is an ongoing threat to the Rural Economy. Just get a good and fair Farm Bill done one way the other and stop the political hogwash now that the elections are over.

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