(Radio Iowa) – The Farm Bill now has a major backer, one who can clear the way for a vote in the U.S. House. House Speaker John Boehner announced on Wednesday that he would support the legislation when it comes up for consideration in the House.
“I’ve got concerns about the Farm Bill, as I told our members,” Boehner said Wednesday during a news conference in Washington, D.C. “But doing nothing means we get no changes in the farm program, no changes in the nutrition program and as a result I’m going to vote for the Farm Bill to make sure that the good work of the Agriculture Committee…gets to a conference so that we can get the kind of changes that people want in our nutrition programs and our farm programs.”
Last year Boehner would not bring the Farm Bill up for a vote, and congress resorted to a one-year extension of the 2008 Farm Bill. Iowa Congressman Bruce Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, said Wednesday prior to Boehner’s announcement, that he would continue call for a vote on the House version of the Farm Bill.
“I have always been consistent in maintaining that the speaker has the responsibility to bring a bipartisan farm bill to the floor. A bill that passed in the last congress with an overwhelming bipartisan vote in the Senate. A bill that’s passed in this congress with an overwhelming bipartisan vote in the Senate, and a bill that is absolutely critical to Iowa’s economy,” Braley said.
Braley said he was in a wait and see mode on an actual vote. “It was supposed to be coming to the floor for a vote next week, but indications are that it could be pulled from the calendar due to lack of support on his (Boehner’s) side of the aisle,” Braley said. “We are all anxious to see it come to the floor and hopefully it will get a bipartisan vote so we can go to conference with the Senate.”
The Senate passed its version of the farm bill Monday with a 66-27 vote. Congressman Steve King, a Republican from Kiron, said one of the things that will have to be worked out between the Senate and House versions of the Farm Bill is the amount of cuts to food assistance or food stamp funding.
“With the House version we cut the nutritional side by 20-and-a-half-billion, so there’s 4-billion in the Senate versus 20-and-half in the House. They did only administrative cuts, we did program eligibility to try and keep the resources for the people that need it and deny it for the people that are gigging the system,” King said.
King said producers should be recognized for their willingness to give up direct payments in this version of the bill. “So they’re to be applauded for stepping up and taking that hit, I don’t know when that happens. That’s the big thing from this Farm Bill,” King says.
King says the balance in the new bill will save money and is the right direction for the future.