Vilsack Voices Disappointment With Failure to Pass Farm Bill

WASHINGTON — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack expressed frustration with the House of Representatives for not having passed the 2012 Farm Bill.

Vilsack said in a statement that House Republicans “added new uncertainty for rural America” by not passing the Farm Bill before leaving Washington.

“U.S. agriculture is fighting to maintain the tremendous momentum it has built over the past three years, but with natural disasters and other external forces threatening livelihoods of our farmers and ranchers, certainty is more important than ever,” Vilsack said.

“Americans deserve a food, farm and jobs bill that reforms the safety net for producers in times of need, promotes the bio-based economy, conserves our natural resources, strengthens rural communities, promotes job growth in rural America and supports food assistance to low-income families. Without the certainty of a multi-year bill, rural communities are being asked to shoulder undue burdens.” 

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Vilsack’s comments come after House Speaker John Boehner told reporters last month that the House plans to address the Farm Bill after the November election.

“The current situation we face is that we’ve got people who believe there’s not enough reform in the Farm Bill that came out of committee.

“We’ve got others who believe there’s too much reform in the bill that came out of the committee,” Boehner told reporters.

“And in our opinion, [this would leave] less than 218 votes to pass either an extension or to consider the entire Farm Bill.”

The Farm Bill expired on September 30. It is unclear whether the House will look at the entire Farm Bill after the election or move to pass a year-long extension.

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