Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Sunday, September 09, 2012
Congress Comes Back to a Face-Off With Angry Farmers
When Congress returns to business this week, it will be met not by the Code Pink antiwar protesters or the Tea Party supporters who often gathered near the Capitol last year. Instead, farmers will be out in force, rallying for a bill that lawmakers failed to pass before they recessed five weeks ago. The fate of the current farm bill, which expires at the end of the month, has preoccupied many voters in agricultural states and has haunted lawmakers at constituent meetings, debates, and local and state fairs. In South Dakota, the farm bill was the central topic at a recent debate between Representative Kristi Noem and her Democratic challenger, Matt Varilek. Over the summer, the Senate passed a bipartisan five-year farm bill that the House declined to take up. House leaders also refused to consider their own Agriculture Committee’s sweeping farm measure, instead pushing through a short-term $383 million package of loans and grants for livestock producers and a limited number of farmers. Senate leaders declined to take action on that measure because they said it was too limited, a view shared by many farmers. Mr. Boehner lacks enough votes to pass a bill because Democrats dislike the $16 billion in cuts to nutrition programs, including food stamps, in the House committee’s bill. And many conservative Republicans would like to see more cuts over all in the measure. According to local news reports in states like South Dakota and Iowa, members of Congress have told their constituents that they anticipate a one-year extension of the current bill. But House and Senate officials said last week that there was no clear path to passage and that negotiations over the summer were not fruitful. On Wednesday, the National Farmers Union and the American Farm Bureau Federation will hold a rally near the Capitol to press for the approval of a bill. A devastating drought over the summer has inflated commodities prices and ruined many crops, particularly corn in the Midwest. “The leadership in the House has a dual dilemma,” said Dale Moore, the deputy executive director of the American Farm Bureau Federation. The House Democrats feel the $16 billion in cuts “is too much, and a number of conservative members feel the cut is not steep enough.” “I have heard a pretty steady drumbeat that members of Congress are hearing from farm families who are making it clear we need to get a farm bill done,” he said...more
The NFU rally is expected, but the AFBF too? Imagine that, both ag orgs rallying 'round the capitol for more taxpayer cash.