Farm Bill Update: Congress to Farmers: Have Patience

As Congress returns from their two-week spring recess, they are asking farmers to have patience with the Farm Bill now that President George W. Bush has signed a one-month extension.

House Rep. Steve King (R-IA) said, "I would ask them (the producers), first, please have patience. I wish we'd done better for you; we owe you better than we produced.”

Not only do the producers need to have patience but also the consumers and others affected by the bill. The cost of food has risen more than 5 percent in the first three months of this year. Food banks across the United States are running out of food and the Food Stamp Program is in danger of depleting its funds.

Without a Farm Bill in place, these problems will continue. Congress understands the ramifications of these problems, and that is why they are committed to getting the Farm Bill passed. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and the Senate-House Conference Committee on the bill said he is very positive the progress will be made.

“There is still a considerable amount of work ahead before we can pass a bill,” said Harkin. “This short-term extension will ensure America’s farm and nutrition programs continue until the new Farm Bill is completed.”

White House officials reported that Bush would veto a bill if it increases taxes. Congress is asking the Bush Administration to have more involvement with the Farm Bill to find ways to pay for a $10 billion spending increase in the new U.S. Farm Law.

In addition, Bush, recently issued a statement saying he would sign a one-year extension if Congress cannot agree on a bill by the new deadline of April 18.

Bush said that, “while long-term extension of current law is not the desired outcome, I believe the government has a responsibility to provide America’s farmers and ranchers with a timely and predictable farm program -- not multiple short-term extensions of current law.”

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