A procedural move pushed by Iowa Congressman Bruce Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, to allow the full U.S. House to vote on that body’s version of the farm bill moved ahead Thursday. Braley is now working on getting enough signatures on what is called a “discharge petition” to bring it to a vote.
Iowa Senator Tom Harkin says he’s not sure if there is time to get a vote on the House bill and then work out differences in the Senate bill before the fall recess. “I don’t know, probably not, but at least if the House passed it, then you’ve got a bill, you got the Senate (bill), we can meet on it, and then we can come back in the lame duck session and get it done,” Harkin says.
He says it is important to at least get the House version passed now. “If they wait and pass it in November, then it would be problematic,” Harkin says. “But if they pass it now, let staff get to work, do stuff on it, get it ready when we come back, then we can conference the Tuesday after the election, yeah, I think we could get it done.”
Harkin a Democrat blames Republicans and Tea Party members for holding up the vote before the election. He was asked if it would be easier to pass after the election. Harkin says it would be more politically feasible, but more difficult institutionally to pass the bill.
“So if you’re looking at the political aspect, I suppose the House leadership wants to punt this until after the election so they don’t bring it out on the floor and have people vote on draconion cuts to the SNAP program and other things like that,” Harkin says.
The current farm bill is set to expire on September 30th and the House and Senate are expected to take their fall recess sometime next week.