On Tuesday, House Speaker John Boehner blasted Senate Democrats for moving slowly on a final farm bill.
Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow countered by stating that Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have worked together for two consecutive years on a bipartisan farm bill, and that ag leaders are still working together in conference.
Ag leadership in both the House and Senate Ag Committees maintain that progress on the farm bill continues, but Boehner yesterday didn’t seem reassured. He suggested a one-month extension of the 2008 farm bill to give legislators time to finish work in January. A vote would have to come next week, as Boehner maintained that the House will leave Washington D.C. on Friday as scheduled.
On Thursday, USDA Communications Director Matt Paul released a statement urging negotiators to continue their work:
Negotiations on Capitol Hill about the Farm Bill should continue until House and Senate leaders reach agreement on a comprehensive bill. Numerous members of both sides have indicated progress, and the country deserves continued work on this critical legislation.
Also earlier this week, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack told reporters the Department of Agriculture is capable of implementing the 1938 and 1949 permanent law in “an expeditious way,” should the first of the year arrive without a farm bill or extension.
Iowa Farm Bureau President Craig Hill says that a breakthrough is required. While he has no crystal ball, Hill adds that he can’t foresee a completed bill crossing the President’s desk before January 1, 2014.