Nelson urges House action on farm bill as clock ticks down

By Derrick Cain

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, Dec. 20, 2012 - Even as the chances of a farm bill clearing Congress by the end of the year continued to fade, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) urged the House today to take up and approve a five-year farm bill in the short remaining congressional time.

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Nelson spoke from the Senate floor after House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced lawmakers in his chamber would vote late in the evening on a “fiscal cliff” package that does not include farm bill language.

Several senators, including Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), had hoped that negotiators would be able to attach the farm bill to the package.

Nelson said the lack of action in the House was “disappointing” and “spurred on by partisan gamesmanship.”

“The House's inaction is causing uncertainty, a continuing uncertainty for our nation's producers as they begin planning for the next planting year,” Nelson said.

Separately, after a press conference, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he was in daily communication with Stabenow about the farm bill but deferred to her about any details. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) stressed the importance of getting the bill done this year, and said the price of milk “could double” if dairy provisions in current law were allowed to expire at the end of the month.


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