On Friday, House Agriculture Committee Member Peter Welch (D., Vt.) highlighted the Farm Bill on the House floor (video replay below).
According to Friday’s Congressional Record (H6539), Rep. Welch stated that, “Mr. Speaker, it’s been 141 days. That’s how long it’s been since the House Agriculture Committee, on a bipartisan basis, passed the farm bill by a vote of 35–11. That’s the high watermark of bipartisanship in this Congress. It represents some-thing that is too lacking in Washington today: a serious attempt at progress through bipartisan work.
“We need a farm bill. America needs a farm bill. Our farmers, our folks dependent on nutrition programs, our folks who are farming and want to conserve the land, they’re entitled to have Congress act.
“You know, it’s one thing to vote ‘yes’ and it’s one thing to vote ‘no,’ but it is unacceptable not to vote at all.
“The decision on whether we will vote on a farm bill is up to the leadership. They owe it to each one of us so we can be accountable to the people we represent and give America a farm bill. There is absolutely no excuse for Congress to not even try to do its job, which will occur when a farm bill is brought to the floor.”
On Friday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) discussed the timing of the Farm Bill in response to question from Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D., Md.), the exchange is available in the video clip below.
According to Friday’s Congressional Record (H6563-H6564), Rep. Hoyer stated: “…I know the gentleman indicated that you didn’t include one. I think you did include the farm bill. Could you tell me what you think of the status of the farm bill? Again, we have an issue where the farm bill passed 64–35 in the Senate; 16 Republicans voted for it. And very frankly, the farm bill in this House passed out of your committee 35–11 on a bipartisan vote. That’s not been brought to the floor. Could the gentleman tell me what he thinks is going to happen to the farm bill?
Rep. Cantor: “I would tell the gentleman that both the Speaker and I have both said that we will deal with the issue of the farm bill or the issue in and around the farm bill before leaving this year.
“I would tell the gentleman it is our sense that the farm bill, in being brought to the floor in regular order, does not have the votes to pass this House. And we understand the importance of the issues surrounding the farm bill and working with Chairman LUCAS and others.
“But on both sides of the Capitol, we look forward to hopefully reaching some type of resolution on issues surrounding the farm bill prior to leaving this year.”
Rep. Hoyer noted: “I thank the gentleman for that response; and I am hopeful that we can, in fact, proceed on that for the farmers of America. Obviously if we don’t pass something by December 31, on January 1 prices for the Federal Government will go up very dramatically, as the gentleman knows; and it will have an impact on spending. And I know the gentleman and I are both concerned about that.”