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View From the Hill: Another short term solution

By Grace Boatright, National Grange Legislative Director (View From The Hill Blog 8/1/12)

  AUGUST 2, 2012 --

House Republicans’ plan to get an extension on 2008 Farm Bill measures has been abandoned. GOP leaders couldn’t muster up enough votes to get it passed, so they have abandoned the idea all together. Instead, they have decided to try for a much narrower “disaster aid package” to help relieve drought-stricken farmers and ranchers, at the bargain price of $383 million. The House is expected to bring this up for a vote on Thursday (god forbid they just bring up the whole Farm Bill).

The disaster relief program will restore insurance for livestock and feed programs that have already expired in the 2008 Farm Bill, and add some assistance for specialty crops.

The $383 million price tag will only apply to 2012, with the rest coming from imposing caps on two conservation programs, as already proposed in the 2013 budget bill.

In all fairness, there are plenty in Washington who do want to bring up the Farm Bill as a whole, including House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. They are being shut down by the larger majority (the guys who are afraid of losing their jobs come November) and have to settle for things like extensions and disaster relief programs because that’s the only means they have for helping their constituents.

We’ll see how all of this pans out tomorrow. In the meantime, I’m calling Hill offices left and right to express the Grange's opinion on the matter, and would encourage all of you to do the same. To find your Representative and their contact info, go to http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/.

-Grace Boatright
National Grange Legislative Director

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