On September 20, the U.S. House of Representatives leaves on a ten-day recess, and will return just in time to see current farm policy expire.
“It’s really frustrating,” says Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey. Inaction on the farm bill has become a cliche on Capitol Hill, and farmers have become fatigued. Farming without a farm bill is not exactly dire; planting decisions are based on market prices, not legislation, and the most contentious issues with this farm bill involve nutrition spending, not farm policy. Even with slight progress from the House of Representatives moving toward a House-Senate farm bill conference, the threat of another extension still looms.
Northey says threats from Senate leadership that they would not pass another extension were welcomed when it seemed the House would heed them. Now they’ve rung hollow, and if Congress proves unproductive over its recess, Northey says a second extension isn’t preferable, but that it’s better than nothing.
Some representatives are expected to remain in D.C. to handle the topic of military intervention in Syria. While there, Northey says they should be thorough, even if it means eating into more of their recess.
Syria’s there, it needs to be discussed, but at the same token we need to create more days to be able to get a farm bill done. It does make sense in my mind to find some way to get a farm bill done, and not ignore that issue that’s there in the room.
Inaction is a decision as well, and it would seem like if we were running out of days, there’s got to be to be some way to create more days for this to happen.
Something, somehow, some way, will get done. We just are frustrated it’s taken so doggone long for that to happen.