WASHINGTON, D.C. – Among the giant list of legislation Congress has yet to consider, the primary food and agriculture policy – the farm bill – sits on the sidelines, waiting for its day on the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate floor.
It was supposed to be resolved by the end of 2013. Then, in early January. But now halfway through the month, Congress is still undecided on what to do with the farm bill. Republicans and Democrats remain gridlocked on important issues, including how much federal funding the country should pour into the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and how much the government should support dairy farmers during an economic downturn.
The 2008 farm bill, which lasted is five years, expired in December. With Congress unable to agree on a new farm bill, it was extended for an additional 50 days.
Republican Congressman Dave Camp (R-MI) who is chair of the Ways and Means Committee says progress is being made.
“There’s work being done to come to an agreement on the farm bill, between the House and Senate versions. There are still a number of key issues there,” he said.
Still, Camp said he is optimistic about the passing of a new five year bill, but knows it will take longer than anticipated.
“It’s essential we get one, and I think we will,” he said. “It’s going to take some more time to sort out these problems.”
With the extension set to expire on January 31st, time is quickly running out.