“It’s not about an extension - we NEED to pass a Farm Bill.”
With the expiration date of the current Farm Bill just around the corner, Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow criticized House leadership during a conference call Tuesday for continuing to delay advancement of the 2012 Farm Bill.
“The House leadership, for whatever reason, has decided they are not going to bring it up on the floor,” she says. “They only have a few days remaining in session – but they are going to pass their Continuing Resolution this week.”
Stabenow says the question still remains: “What’s more important to do than a Farm Bill?”. She adds, “I don’t think they have anything else substantive on their agenda for September.”
The Chairwoman notes if the House could get a Farm Bill passed – she feels they could conference the two bills very quickly. “When we look at the two bills,” she says. “Other than the commodity titles where there are some policy differences and the nutrition title where there are some differences in the cuts to nutrition; the bills are very similarly.”
The structure of the House conservation title, she says, is the same as the Senate with very minor differences; the specialty crop title is very similar; and the rest of the House bill all parallels the Senate version of the Farm Bill.
“There’s no doubt in my mind,” she says, “that we can’t come together and negotiate the differences in good faith.”
Stabenow says their goal is still to have the 2012 Farm Bill completed before the September 30th deadline.