October 24, 2014

Frustration over lack of Farm Bill builds (AUDIO)

Nebraska’s Congressional delegation dealing directly with agriculture legislation expresses frustration that a new Farm Bill hasn’t passed Congress.

Congress left on its August recess with a lot left undone, including the Farm Bill.

“Something has to happen with the Farm Bill, because the one that’s in place is expiring this year,” says Sen. Mike Johanns, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

A Farm Bill passed the Senate with the help of Johanns and Sen. Ben Nelson, also a member of the Agriculture Committee.

Nelson lists the Farm Bill among several pieces of legislation still pending as members of Congress left Washington for their respective districts. Both senators worry agriculture legislation, along with the Food Stamp program which is included in the Farm Bill, will get lost in the crush of work left for Congress when it returns to the Capitol.

The House Agriculture Committee approved a different version of a Farm Bill, but the full House failed to take it up for debate prior to leaving on break.

Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, isn’t sure a Farm Bill will pass this year.

“I think the momentum for it to potentially pass is building, but I don’t think we are quite to a tipping point, yet,” Fortenberry tells Nebraska Radio Network.

Fortenberry says he was “very” disappointed the House didn’t pass a bill prior to leaving on its break.

Even if the House approves a version of the Farm Bill, the two chambers still must work out a compromise to be sent to the president. Fortenberry says Congress might be forced to extend the current policy for a year.

AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]