WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2012 – “We want to get [the farm bill] to the floor before lame duck,” Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said at a press conference yesterday, joining a chorus of Congressional and Senate Republicans who say they want to pass the legislation before the conclusion of the 112th Congress.
Reps. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan. and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, as well as Representative-elect Robert Cramer, R-N.D., and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., joined Rep. King in his call for a speedy solution to the now-expired farm bill.
Congressional conservatives have certainly changed their tune since September, when many urged Republican leadership to sit on the farm bill until after the election. They hoped a Senate majority and conservative president would give them leverage to create legislation more in line with their interests.
Now that the election is over – and now that it has not quite gone their way – conservatives sound more conciliatory. But many of those pre-election qualms still linger.
Reps. Huelskamp and Jordan took special issue with the current Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). “We want [funding] to go to the most needy, not the people who game the system,” Rep. Huelskamp said yesterday at a monthly Conversations with Conservatives press conference. The congressman said he intends to introduce legislation to cut SNAP funding should the farm bill reach the floor this session.
“Hopefully we can split nutrition from [the bill’s] ag [components],” Jordan said, though he questioned whether the House had the votes for such a fundamental adjustment to the legislation.
In a separate press call on Wednesday, Sen. John Thune expressed similar hopes for a quick but stripped-down farm bill, though South Dakota senator signed the Senate's version of the legislation in June.
“I think everyone agrees that that nutrition program is important,” Thune said, “but we can always find ways to deliver those programs more efficiently and provide savings.”
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