House speaker John Boehner has taken a lot of heat for not allowing the full House to debate and vote on a new five-year farm bill.
But in a news conference Thursday, Boehner showed no signs of relenting. He said that Ag Committee chair Frank Lucas lacks the support to move forward because of divisions over food-stamp funding in the bill.
“The House is pretty well divided,” Boehner said. “You’ve got the left concerned about reductions in the food stamp program. You’ve got the right who don’t think the cuts go far enough in the food stamp program to bring it into compliance with what the law has been.
“And frankly, I haven’t seen 218 votes in the middle to pass a farm bill.”
But Senate Ag Committee chair Debbie Stabenow indicated she is equally determined to keep the focus on finding some compromise with the House.
“It is our goal to do one of two things,” Stabenow said. “Have the opportunity to come together in September and offer something that would be a compromise between the House and Senate –that’s the best thing—and include comprehensive disaster assistance as a part of that.
“That’s far-and-away what we are hearing from farm country.”
And if that doesn’t happen, Stabenow says she will then work to have the Senate pass a comprehensive disaster assistance bill in September.
The House passed a disaster aid package Thursday just ahead of the August recess. But Democratic leaders in the Senate refused to take up the House measure, faulting House Republican leaders for failing to consider the broader farm bill in time.
Stabenow audio courtesy of FarmPolicy.com