Drought in the Field and on the Hill

Faith Grant's picture

Farmers across the country are dealing with the worst drought in sixty years.  So why is the Farm Bill stalled in Congress?  House GOP leadership has refused to bring the bill to the floor for a vote.  Word on the Hill is that they don’t want House members (all of whom are up for re-election in November) to have to take a tough vote during campaign season.  

Now, we all know that the Farm Bill won't reverse the drought or even put a bandaid on the problem, but it is the most important legislation affecting food and farming in America.  Proposed changes to current law could make things better in the long run.  Doing nothing could make a very bad situation even worse.

Dozens of programs that affect farmers, organic and conventional alike, expire at the end of September, including critical disaster aid programs.  USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders, and farmers across the country are calling on House Speaker John Boehner to make time for a vote before Congress recesses in August.  In comments today, Speaker Boehner hinted that the House may be open to taking up the Farm Bill or a smaller drought relief measure.

The draft Farm Bill certainly isn’t perfect, but it would extend or replace expired disaster aid programs. And, it does make significant reforms to programs such as crop insurance.  Better insurance coverage and disaster aid will most certainly be needed as farmers deal with this unprecedented drought.  I urge Speaker Boehner and Congress to do the right thing for farmers.  We simply cannot let election-year politics make the drought even more punishing than it already is.

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