Continued Congressional inaction

Members of the House and Senate head home without passing a new farm bill.

Editorial board

The story of how the 112th Congress has failed to pass a new farm bill is no different than the other numerous occasions this year where Washington lawmakers chose procrastination and pandering over the general welfare of the nation.

Even with bipartisan support for an updated farm bill, members of the Senate and House of Representatives are leaving Washington before passing one.

Both chambers have adjourned as public officials head back to their districts seeking re-election, making it unlikely that anything will be passed until after the election during the lame-duck session. Farm bills have historically been comprised largely of funds for the federal food stamp program, but they also include price-support measures and crop insurance, both of which are important for American famers. While critics complain the farm bill is often full of wasteful corporate welfare, the Senate passed its own version in late June that included savings of $23.6 billion from current spending levels. The House has failed to produce its own bill, as Republicans argue over how deep cuts to welfare should go. This summer’s extreme drought has been hard enough on farmers throughout the country, particularly in the Midwest. Now is not the time to abandon our commitments made to the American agricultural industry.

As members of the House of Representatives, as well as the Senate, begin to campaign in their home states and districts, constituents should remind them of their duties to make tough, often unpopular decisions in order to safeguard the nation’s economic interests.