It’s now been two weeks since the Republican led U.S. House approved a trimmed-down version of the Farm Bill, leaving out “food stamps” and other federal nutrition programs. Congressman Bruce Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, calls it a “fake” Farm Bill and isn’t sure when the whole issue might be resolved.
“I haven’t heard a single peep out of the Republican leadership since the fake Farm Bill passed on the House floor several weeks ago,” Braley says. “There was a commitment to bring the nutrition title back to the floor, but we’ve heard nothing about that.”
The U.S. Senate has passed its own version of the Farm Bill, but the House split the bill in two and has only passed one part. House leaders have said they won’t begin negotiating with senators to find a compromise until the other half of the Farm Bill – the part that deals with federal food and nutrition programs – passes the House.
A one year extension of the Farm Bill was approved last year and is set to expire September 30th. “It’s very discouraging and frustrating to me,” Braley says. “I continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the isle who want to see a robust five-year Farm Bill come back to the House for a vote, but right now it’s very murky as to when that’s going to happen.”
More than 530 U.S. farm organizations were registered as opposed to the whittled down Farm Bill that House Republicans passed July 11th. No Democrat in the U.S. House voted for it. Iowa’s two Republican congressmen did vote for the down-sized Farm Bill, but both Tom Latham and Steve King said they were “disappointed” House leaders chose to split the Farm Bill.