Frustration Builds Over Farm Bill Delays

Congress has voted to extend temporary funding again to keep the government open, but in the process, likely produced more delays in writing a farm bill and more frustration among Ag members. “No progress” is how Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) described farm bill efforts almost four months after the last farm bill expired and was extended by one year.

That as House and Senate lawmakers extended temporary funding until March to keep USDA and other federal agencies open. Iowa Senator Ernst was asked outside the Senate about the impact of continued fights over full-year spending bills on the farm bill. Ernst said, “Exactly, I mean it will affect the farm (bill). It will affect everything else, so we need to get our work done, but you know what the problem is. Chuck Schumer’s not allowing us to bring these approps bills across the floor of the Senate.”

Ag Democrats are also frustrated. Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) said “There’ve been many delays, as it relates to the churning and the chaos.”

With more to come as House Speaker Mike Johnson faces renewed pressure from Freedom Caucus conservatives to fight the Senate over social policy and border immigration riders. And fights continue for scarce farm bill dollars. Ernst also talked about Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack’s focus on CCC funds as a solution, saying “I don’t know that that’s the magic bullet. But he may know more than I do. I hope he does. But they need to sit down at the table together between Chairman Stabenow, between ranking member Boozman and Secretary Vilsack.”

Stabenow, in her final year before retiring, insists a farm bill can get done this year before the need for another extension.

Story courtesy of NAFB News Service; Matt Kaye/Berns Bureau Washington