Farm bill left behind by Congress

by Carol Thompson

An effort to provide emergency aid for American ranchers and farmers reeling from a year of calamities collapsed Thursday as members of Congress departed for their five-week August recess, leaving behind a pile of unfinished legislation as they go home to campaign for re-election.

For Rep. Bill Owens, the exit from Washington is not satisfactory.

Friday Owens urged House Speaker John Boehner to call the House of Representatives back to Washington to vote on the 2012 Farm Bill.

The bill would provide the first major overhaul of the nation’s nutrition and farm program. Owens voted against a measure Thursday that would allow the House to adjourn for more than five weeks until September 10th. The motion to adjourn failed by a bipartisan vote of 150-265. Due to this vote, the House must meet in regular pro forma sessions periodically for the next five weeks, but no major legislative issues are expected to be addressed until September, Owens said Friday.

“I voted against adjournment because we have a limited amount of time to finish our work on the Farm Bill,” Owens said. “Federal agriculture programs critical to New York farmers will expire at the end of September. It is unacceptable for the House to leave Washington without approving its version of the bill so that negotiations may begin between the House and Senate on a final version to send to the President. I urge Speaker Boehner to call the full House back to work, and both parties to work together to get this done.”

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